The Notre Dame-USC score went down to the wire last night. However, because the Notre Dame-USC score had no national implications for either side, much of the nation may have shrugged. It is a rare year when both of these rivals have nothing to play for, except pride and a minor bowl. But the Irish are that way because of another disappointing season, and the Trojans’ NCAA violations made them ineligible for the postseason. Therefore, the Notre Dame-USC game sent the Trojans into the offseason on a sour note, after their 20-16 defeat.
The Irish were expected to have a losing season by now, after they were 4-5 a few weeks ago. But by handling Utah and Army, they had salvaged a 6-5 record to become bowl eligible. The Trojans were 7-4, but had no postseason to look forward to.
The Notre Dame-USC score started slowly, with the Trojans up 3-0 late in the first half. But the Irish finally marched for two late touchdowns in the second quarter, although they missed an extra point. The Trojans hung in to tie the score in the third quarter, as the rain poured into the Coliseum.
Finally, the Trojans got the lead back on a fourth quarter field goal. Down 16-13, the Irish seemed set for yet another close loss, which has been the hallmark of the last few years. It would have been their ninth straight loss to the Trojans as well.
But this trying regular season finally ended with a break for the Irish. Tommy Rees led them down the field one more time, with Robert Hughes’ 5-yard run giving them the lead again. Yet the Notre Dame-USC score was still fragile, as the Trojans had time left to pull out a comeback.
After converting a fourth-and-7, the Trojans seemed set to march towards a touchdown, and break Irish hearts again. However, before that happened, Ronald Johnson dropped a ball while all alone at the 15. Although new starter Mitch Mustain still got USC down to the 23, he threw a final interception to Harrison Smith with 36 seconds left.
The game served as a missed opportunity for the Trojans, as Lane Kiffin concluded his first year at 7-5. Meanwhile, the Notre Dame-USC score allowed Brian Kelly to end his first season on a high note, despite a year riddled with disappointment and tragedy.
The Irish still have another game to play, as the Champs Sports Bowl is expected to invite them in. If they accept, they will face the ACC’s No. 3 team on December 28 in Orlando.
Yahoo Sports- “Irish hold off USC, 20-16, end 8-game rivalry skid”