Notre Dame squared off against the USC Trojans with plenty to play for, but didn’t have enough to make it happen.
Notre Dame won the toss and deferred to the second half, and USC moved down the field with relative ease using the running game and some trick plays thrown in to keep the Irish off balance. The Trojans finished it off with an 11 yard touchdown pass from Caleb Williams to Tahj Washington.
The Irish weren’t so crisp on their opening drive and went three and out pretty quickly.
It was a big win of sorts for Notre Dame to force the Trojan offense to kick a field goal on their next drive to make it 10-7. The Irish tried to capitalize on that small bit of momentum and put a short drive together — but it ultimately blew up in their face with a Mitchell Evans 4th down rushing attempt stopped short.
Notre Dame’s defense got to Caleb Williams enough on the next drive to force a punt, and Drew Pyne took the offense 80 yards down the field in 9 plays that ended with a touchdown pass to Michael Mayer to make it 10-7 halfway through the 2nd quarter.
The Trojans answered the Irish score with a 10 play 75 yard drive that was helped by the refs about 4 times, and Caleb Williams ran it in the endzone on a really nice play off the mesh point to make it 17-7 with 28 seconds left in the half.
Notre Dame came out after halftime with plenty of fire and execution and drove the ball deep into Trojan territory, but Drew Pyne fumbled the ball away and Southern cal got the ball back poised to put this game out of reach.
Southern Cal went 74 yards on 7 plays and punched it into the endzone with a 5 yard rush from running back Raleek Brown to go ahead 24-7 early in the third quarter.
Notre Dame wasn’t done fighting though. The Irish offense took things to another level with a quick 75 yard drive that included a big run from Audric Estime that helped create a 23 yard touchdown pass from Drew Pyne to Deion Colzie to make it 24-14 about halfway through the third quarter.
Southern Cal wasn’t fazed in the slightest. The Trojans went 75 yards on their next turn with a taunting Caleb Williams jogging into the endzone on a 6 yard score to make it 31-14. At that point the game felt really over, but Notre Dame countered with a quick 75 yard drive of their own that ended with a Logan Diggs touchdown drive.
Down 31-21, the Irish defense needed to make a big stop against USC on the next possession. Despite coughing up a big play to USC through the air that was extended by a Jaden Mickey facemask call, Notre Dame kept the Trojans off of the scoreboard on the drive, SC used up a bunch of clock and were flagged for two holding calls (finally) and a delay of game to get there — but Caleb Williams pooch punted for the second time on the night and the Irish took over on the 10 yard line, down 10, and 5:52 left on the clock.
It could have been 3 seconds left on the clock. After gaining a first down, Drew Pyne threw an interception and Southern Cal took over at the Notre Dame 24 yard line. Four plays later, Caleb Williams ran it into the endzone to put the Trojans up 38-21 with 2:35 left in the game.
Notre Dame added a touchdown pass from Drew Pyne to Michael Mayer with 1:02 left in the game, but a failed 2 point conversion attempt, and an onside kick that went into Trojan hands ended the night.
More to come on OFD.