In a game that USC really could have won, a lack of execution on both sides of the ball led to a disappointing, 14-0 loss to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have now bested the Trojans two years in a row.
After forcing a fumble (that Notre Dame ultimately recovered) and a subsequent punt, the Trojan defense left the field so the offense could try and get points on the board.
Starting at the 47 yard line, the Trojans started their drive. Silas Redd got things moving a bit with a big run, but a holding penalty negated it. USC did get into field goal position, but unsurprisingly, Andre Heidari completely missed a 46-yard attempt.
In the one exciting moment of the half, Hayes Pullard forced a fumble and Su’a Cravens recovered it, breathing new life into the Trojans in the process. USC took over at the 34-yard line, and with new energy, looked to score. Silas Redd gained 15 yards and a Trojan first down, but a holding penalty from Max Tuerk wiped it out.
Fortunately, the Trojans recovered. Kessler rolled out of the pocket and hit Darreus Rogers at the 21-yard line for the first down. On the same play, offensive lineman Aundrey Walker de-cleated Notre Dame’s Louis Nix, who gingerly walked off the field. But in the end, USC–and they did all night–made nothing of it.
The fourth quarter for both teams consisted of poor offensive efforts coupled by strong defensive ones’ but USC all around overwhelmed the most.
USC could not execute on offense, and the egregious amount of penalties committed by the offense all but sealed its fate. Without Tommy Rees, Notre Dame did not complete a single pass in the second half. Still, the Trojans could do absolutely nothing to turn things in their favor.
On a positive note, Cody Kessler ended the night 20 of 34 for 201 yards, and one interception. Silas Redd finished with 112 yards on 19 carries for his fourth 100-yard game as a Trojan. Nelson Agholor played his heart out for the Trojans, having six receptions for 89 yards. The Trojan defense held the Irish to just 47 yards in the second half.
But it was just not enough to tip the scales in USC’s favor.
The Trojans fall to 4-3 on the season, and the fun ship under Coach Orgeron is already in jeopardy of sinking.