Notre Dame showed up to play football on Saturday night as they squared off against the USC Trojans. It wasn’t a pretty offensive game for Notre Dame, but the defense helped lead the way for a 48-20 Irish victory.
On the first drive of the game, Caleb Williams threw an interception to Xavier Watts, and the Irish safety returned it inside USC’s 15 yard line. A few plays later, Sam Hartman found Gi’Bran Payne on a 4 yard touchdown pass to take an early 7-0 lead over USC.
Southern Cal and Notre Dame exchanged a couple of punts before USC was able to put together a 10 play 59 yard drive that ended in a field goal. Notre Dame took the next possession 48 yard and kicked a Spencer Shrader field goal of thier own to make it 10-3.
Late in the second quarter Xavier Watts intercepted Caleb Williams for a second time and ran it down to the one yard line. One play later, Audric Estime bulldozed into the endzone to make the game 17-3. On USC’s next possession, Benjamin Morrison pulled in another interception of Caleb Williams and gave the ball back to the Irish on the 50 yard line. Notre Dame march down to the goaline in just a few plays, and Audric Estime blasted through for another touchdown.
USC answered the Irish touchdown with a 90 second drive that ended with a USC field goal to make it 24-6 at halftime.
Notre Dame’s offense was never in sync in the first half despite the lead, and that discombobulation continued in the second half. Notre Dame had consecutive 3 and outs on offense, which ultimately resulted in Southern Cal getting in the endzone for the first time all night. The score came via MarShawn Lloyd on a 31 run where the Irish defense forgot to contain the edge.
Surprisingly, Notre Dame started to move the ball well on its next possession, and Sam Hartman hooked up with Chris Tyree on a 46 yard touchdown pass to make it 31-13 with 3:54 left in the 3rd.
Notre Dame’s defensive pressure really cranked it up late in the third as Rylie Mills was in on two consecutive sacks of Caleb Williams to help punt the ball back to Notre Dame.
Notre Dame’s offense refused to really put this game away early in the 4th quarter and was forced to punt the ball away with a little over 11 minutes left in the game. Zacheriah Branch took the punt 44 yards, and put it in the redzone for the Trojan offense. USC put it in the endzone a few plays later to cut the Irish lead to 11 with 9 minutes left in the game.
And then... a little magic happened. Jadarian Price took the kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown to make it 38-20 Notre Dame with 8:50 left in the game.
Notre Dame’s defense turned it up another notch and forced a turnover on downs on USC’s 14 yard line with 4:49 left in the game.
Notre Dame decided to keep a 3 score game a 3 score game and kicked a field goal to make the score 41-20.
On USC’s next possession, Cam Hart and Xavier Watts forced a fumble, and Watts picked it up for a scoop and score, 48-20.
More to come on OFD.