USC had the ball to start the second half, but did not kick things off the way it wanted to: Cody Kessler got picked off by Jaylon Smith on second down, the first turnover of the gave.
Notre Dame made nothing of it however, and ultimately was forced to punt.
USC couldn’t get anything going either on its next drive, getting moved off the field in three plays.
TOmmy Rees was greeted on the next play big a monstrous hit from USC linebacker Lamar Dawson. Rees went down hard, and struggled to get up and off the field.
Meanwhile, the rain finally started to come down in South Bend, after clouds loomed overhead all day. Backup quarterback Andrew Hix came in for him, and did nothing with his opportunity. The Fighting Irish had to punt, giving USC an opportunity to get things rolling for itself again.
That didn’t happen though. The Notre Dame defense has effectively contained the Trojan offense after the half, forcing another punt from USC.
The Trojan defense came alive a bit with Hendrix under center, getting pressure on him and ultimately forcing a three-and-out as these two rivals continued to go tit for tat.
Later in the quarter, Nelson Agholor ran a punt back 29-yards to start USC’s drive on the Notre Dame 33-yard line. On 4th and 5 and with a stagnant offense, USC decided to go for it.
At the end of the third, both the Trojans and the Fighting Irish looked incredibly mediocre, having only earned one first down each in the entire quarter.