The Notre Dame Fighting Irish took care of business on Saturday night with a 31-16 victory over the USC Trojans.
The Irish were very business like on their first drive of the night coming off of the bye week. Notre Dame drove 74 yards with relative ease, but stalled out in the redzone after Kevin Austin dropped a 3rd down pass. Jonathan Doerer missed the 36 yard field goal, and that feeling of a “long night”
But that feeling was unwarranted — for a few moments.
Notre Dame leaned on a passing game that hit the edge, and Kyren Williams rushing for over 100 yards to give the offense its most complete performance of the season.
In the first half, Notre Dame scored on a 4 yard Jack Coan to Avery Davis pass, and then an 80 yard interception return by Bo Bauer netted a Jonathan Doerer field goal to make it 10-0.
Along the way Kyle Hamilton injured his leg along the sideline and never returned.
The Trojans got on the board with a field goal thanks to a terrible roughing the passer call that aided their drive and negated a penalty USC committed. Unfazed, the Irish countered with a 75 yard drive that ended with a Kyren Williams 5 yard TD run to make it 17-3. USC was driving at the end of the half, but poor clock management saw the Trojans waste the clock to zero in Irish territory.
Things continued to go Notre Dame’s way in the 3rd quarter as the opening USC drive resulted in a missed kick. Notre Dame put together a 13 play 80 yard touchdown drive to go up 24-3 with 2:51 left in the quarter.
USC then made things interesting with a 77 yard drive that saw Keontay Ingram score from 5 yards out. Notre Dame was just startting to drive down the field, but a deep throw by Jack Coan was intercepted — though it looked like continuous possession with Kevin Austin. The Trojans drove down for another touchdown, but missed the extra point to make it 24-16 with almost 9 minutes left in the game.
Notre Dame answered the Trojan touchdown with a drive of their own — with of course — a Kyren Williams touchdown to make it 31-16 with less than 5 minutes in the game.
Notre Dame took possession of the ball deep in Trojan territory after a failed 4th and long. The Irish got it down to the 2, and then took a couple of knees.
It was a solid win, and Notre Dame looks like they have improved over the bye.
More to come on OFD.