Notre Dame v. USC ’15: Shamrock Stickers


Will Fuller - Notre Dame WR v. USC
Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame kept its playoff hopes alive with an entertaining 41-31 victory over rival USC. In a game full of momentum swings the Irish had the final surge outscoring the Trojans 17-0 in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Notre Dame overcame allowing 21 straight points to the Trojans over a span in the second and third quarter thanks to excellent defense and a commitment to C.J. Prosise and the run game in the second half. The Irish took back bragging rights from their arch-rivals thanks to the performances of the following players:

C.J. Prosise

Irish running back C.J. Prosise continued to show why he is one of the best players at his position in the nation. Prosise did an excellent job of power running between the tackles, rarely letting the first contact bring him down. The senior ran for 143 yards on an impressive 7.5 yards per carry while adding two touchdowns. Prosise also continued to be a key contributor in the pass game leading the Irish in receptions with five totaling 32 yards.

Will Fuller

Notre Dame’s number one receiver answered many questions about his game with his performance versus Adoree’ Jackson. Fuller was able to beat Jackson for a 75 yard touchdown on Notre Dame’s first offensive play to set the tone for the Irish. The junior receiver also burnt Jackson for a 45 yard catch which led to a field goal that put the game out of reach. Fuller was a problem for the Trojans all night also drawing two critical pass interference penalties.

Jaylon Smith

The star of the Irish defense showed up once again in a big game. Smith’s athleticism stood out against a USC offense full of speed. The Irish linebacker did a very good job in coverage as well as in run defense. Smith led the Irish in tackles with 14 and also had a quarterback hurry.

KeiVarae Russell

Notre Dame’s top corner said entering the week that he had not played at the level he is capable of; well he showed what he is capable of versus the Trojans. Russell did a very solid job of covering JuJu Smith-Schuster and the rest of the USC receivers. He also had an incredible interception in the fourth quarter to give the Irish the opportunity to put the game away. Russell led the Irish in solo tackles with nine and was second to Smith in total tackles with 10.





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  1. I like all this debate about Kizer vs Zaire. Nice problem to have. However, Wimbush has the strongest and most accurate arm of the three and runs better than Kizer but not as well as Zaire, so don’t forget about him.

  2. Thankfully Kizer has shown he can be a great QB. He’s accurate, he’s a run threat and he doesn’t wilt under pressure. In a lot of ways, he’s more similar to Golson. He is very much a run threat keeping opposing defensed honest. Golson’s Achilles heel was if he made a mistake he would lose his focus and compound those mistakes.

    Zaire, however, adds another dimension to the offense in his zone read abilities. I have no doubt he will be the starter next year. Kizer will definitely get his turn and Winbush will get his chances too.

    But I am thankful as a ND fan that Kizer is as great a QB as he is. It says a lot for him that we are halfway through the season and still have some hope of getting into the playoff. Esp. considering he didn’t get many first team reps this past offseason. I think Kizer has potential, just like Zaire and even Winbush, of being an elite QB.

  3. Southside,

    I get it, you really like Kizer. But here are the facts…Zaire is a better runner…Zaire has a better arm…Zaire is a very accurate passer (although Kizer is showing he is pretty accurate as well)…Zaire fits Kelly’s offense better than Kizer simply because of the zone read…defenses will respect Zaire more as a runner on zone read plays and won’t just key primarily on the RB which will open up more opportunities for our RBs…

    You had asked…what would Zaire have done in the past games that would allow us to be 6-1…Let me ask you this…the stupid call that Kelly made at the end of the Clemson game, would you have rather wanted Zaire or Kizer to run that same play? I would prefer Zaire here as he is simply the better runner. He may have noticed the hole closing quicker and bounced it more outside. This is his experience and skillset as a runner since high school that I just don’t think Kizer has. This example alone is where Zaire could have made a difference.

    And again, your comparison to Quinn is stupid. Quinn had a 60+ yard run against USC his senior year, but Kizer is a runner right? When has Kizer run for a 60 yard gain? You let me know when Kizer throws around 40 TDs to 5 INTs (Quinn had two years with stats like this) and then we can talk again.

  4. I know the oline gave up four sacks, but, for the most part, they did a great job. The opened up holes for ND runners, and gave some remarkable protection for a lot of those completions….

  5. Corey Robinson? Didn’t he make the game winning awesome catch?

    Also, not only did KR make that key interception to save the win, he tipped a ball for Max Redfield to intercept.

    Good article….thanks!

  6. ChrisJ , that’s your opinion and I disagree. If Zaire unseats Kizer next spring — then great , cause I like Zaire too. But , Kizer is the real deal–as he’s shown in his baptism to college football so far. I ask myself , what would Zaire do in this past 7 game season so far that would keep us at 6-1—and come to conclusion that he could not do the things that Kizer did. Comparing Kizer to Quinn and Clausen ? The better QB is Kizer–and on pace to break their records with 3 more years of eligibility. And Kizer can run–unlike Quinn and Clausen. No big deal here—you think Zaire is better—and I don’t.

  7. Southside,

    While I agree with you that Kizer has been solid and continues to improve, it is ridiculous to compare him to Clausen and Quinn saying he is better than those two. Those qbs had record breaking ND careers. Kizer is just getting started and the jury is still out. I do like his progression so far and his poise is definitely advanced for his experience. I think the job is still Zaire’s to lose next year but I don’t know how all 3 of these QBs stay long term unless Zaire’s plan is to try and go pro after next year. He is going to have 3 years of elig left after this medical redshirt. That will be the same for each qb we have on the roster.

  8. Right on MTA , Kizer took the helm when Zaire went down and with his leadership — Irish are 6-1. Leader is the word for this kid. He keeps getting better game by game as he learns play by play on the field. And , you’re right—I think this Kid Kizer is capable of rallying Irish team from behind in any game.

  9. Excellent choices, Pierce

    Honorable Mention: James Onwaulu (7 tackles), and Isaac Rochell and Cole Luke (6 tackles each) . . .
    It’s also a great sign when Kizer has a game as he did and we’re beginning to take it for granted!

  10. Agree Damian , it was a great win in this most famous rivalry in college football. Despite the stall , Irish found a way to win. The bottom line is the final score between these two team. And in most years the victor of this game is in NC play—whether played in October or last game in November. This season it’s Notre Dame who needed this one to keep hopes alive finishing with 11-1 record. Also agree that Temple is an up & coming program coached by Matt Rhule—and yes I saw that right away to–when they beat Penn State. Penn State has reeled off 5 straight wins since lost to Temple. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time considering what lies ahead. Two back to back away games versus Temple and Pitt. Both now in the top AP 25 this week. As far as Kizer’s performance this season mentioned by poster Recchio—I think Kizer is better than Quinn , Clausen. How far do you want to go back ? Go Irish. And root for USC to beat Utah.

  11. The blocked kick is baffling to me. Why would USC avoid blocking a single person at the line? why let them all go? Was it intentional? I am baffled. Please rewatch that play, it makes no sense that the entire line ran through.

  12. Prosise IS amazing!! His development, with the o-lines, has turned ND’s offense into a problem for any team to face. Importantly it has allowed Kizer to develop as well. Kizer’s performance has also been amazing! They should only improve as the season progresses, a scary thought for opposing D-coordinators.

  13. Great win for ND. I was getting high blood pressure when they let USC score 3 unanswered touchdowns. It seemed after the early fumble near the end zone, ND lost it’s rhythm. They can’t allow that to happen. Mistakes are going to happen from time to time. It’s important to get back up, brush it off and move on. Everything seemed to stall for a while. Thankfully the defense and offense did get back on the horse and got back to work in the 4th quarter.

    I loved the block punt. USC never knew what hit them. It actually was funny to watch, what, 5 ND guys run through the USC line, take the ball into the end zone. The USC guys back there were just like, what just happened. I agree with Frank’s earlier article that special teams did a great job this time. Hopefully they can build on that.

    Now they can get a little much needed rest. I believe ND will beat Temple, but they have been quietly racking up the wins. Temple, while not an elite team, is a solid team. I’ve been keeping an eye on them since their win over Penn State earlier this year and they will be looking for the upset. ND just needs to play its game and I think they will win.

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