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:
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.
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.
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.
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.