(NOTRE DAME NOTES)

SERIES HISTORY • Notre Dame and Southern Cal are meeting for the 93rd time on Saturday night with the Irish owning a 50-37-5 lead in the series. • The Fighting Irish – Trojans series is the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football, dating back to 1926, with only a three-year hiatus for World War II (1943-45) and one year off for the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic affected season. • Southern Cal leads the all-time series 23-20-4 in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a venue Notre Dame has not visited since 2018. It was SC’s turn to host the game in 2020, which was canceled due to the Pac-12’s elimination of non-conference games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. • The Notre Dame – Southern Cal series was a back-and-forth battle throughout its early years, then transformed into a pattern of one-sided runs by both teams in the 1940s. The Irish earned 18 victories in the 24 series meetings from 1940-1966 and the Trojans answered with 12 victories in 16 meetings between 1967 and 1982. Notre Dame then began the ‘Decade of Dominance’ in 1983, winning 11 meetings in a row and 12 of 13 games through 1995. After the two teams split six meeting between 1996 and 2001, Southern Cal put together eight consecutive wins until the streak was broken in 2010. Including that 2010 victory, Notre Dame has won eight of the last 11 meetings over Southern Cal. • As is the history of the Notre Dame – Southern Cal series, this weekend’s game will play a major role in deciding the National Championship hopes of at least one of the competing teams. Notre Dame victories in 1947, 1966 and 1988 solidified their championship hopes while the Irish spoiled SC title dreams in 1968, 1969 and 1973. Southern Cal was propelled to titles by wins over Notre Dame in 1931, 1967 and 1978, while the Trojans spoiled Irish championship hopes in 1938, 1948, 1964 and 1970. See page 15 for more information. • Introduced in 1952, Notre Dame and Southern Cal battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh. A rivalry trophy presented annually to the winner of the game, a respective jeweled ornament is added to the Irish war club for each team’s victory in the series – a ruby-red Trojan head for SC, a emerald-studded shamrock for Notre Dame. The original Jeweled Shillelagh was retired in 1995 and is permanently displayed at Notre Dame, while a new longer club was introduced that same year. • Saturday will mark the third time two first-year coaches will meet each other in the legendary series. In 1954, Terry Brennan defeated Jess Hill 23-17 in Notre Dame Stadium as one of the signature victories of his first season with the Irish and in 2010, Brian Kelly’s first Notre Dame team defeated Lane Kiffin’s inaugural Trojan squad 20-16 in the Coliseum.

STORYLINES • Southern Cal looks to strengthen its claim for a CFB Playoff berth, while Notre Dame hopes to claim its 10th win in 11 games and earn its fourth victory over a top-25 team as the No. 5/5 Trojans play host to the No. 13/15 Fighting Irish in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. • Notre Dame is facing its third top-five team of the season for the first time since 2003. The Irish also are looking to claim their second victory over a top-five ranked team since 1993 when Notre Dame defeated No. 3 Michigan 27-23 in Michigan Stadium and No. 1 Florida State 31-24 at home. • Since 1998, Notre Dame has made the trip west to California on Thanksgiving weekend to face either Southern Cal or Stanford (save for the COVID-19 season in 2020 when the defeated North Carolina on the road). Notre Dame is 9-14 since 1998 during its Thanksgiving California trips and has won three in a row (2018 at SC, 2019 at Stanford, 2021 at Stanford). • Notre Dame hopes to claim two-consecutive victories over Southern California in Los Angeles Memorial Stadium for he first time since 2010-12. The Irish posted five straight wins after visits to SC from 1984-92. • From 1965-80 Notre Dame and Southern Cal met as ranked foes 14 times, including nine-straight meetings with both teams in the Associated Press Top 25. The two teams best seasons in the last couple of decades have not match up, however, and Saturday represents the first ranked match up between the two teams since 2017 (No. 13 Notre Dame defeated No. 11 SC 49-14 in Notre Dame Stadium) and the first in Los Angeles since 2006 (No. 3 SC defeated No. 6 Notre Dame 44-24 in the Coliseum).

IRISH ITEMS – BY THE NUMBERS

4

The Irish are looking to earn their fourth win over a AP Top 25 team this season. The

last time the Irish defeated four ranked teams in a season was 2018 and the last

first-year Notre Dame coach to claim four ranked victories was Terry Brennan in 1954.

5

Notre Dame has scored 35 or more points in five-consecutive games, accomplishing

that feat for just the second time in 134 years of football (1943). The Irish have never

scored 35 points in six straight games..

6.5

Junior defensive end Isaiah Foskey has sacked the quarterback 5.5 times in the

last five games, pushing his career total to 25.0 and surpassing Justin Tuck’s (2002-

04) Notre Dame career record. Foskey has helped the Irish rank 13th in the country

in sacks per game (3.0).

7

Notre Dame has blocked a school-record (since 1937) and FBS-leading seven punts

this season. The Irish blocked a punt in five-conseutive games (the streak ended

against Boston College), which is the longest such stretch in the FBS since 2012. The

seven blocked punts are the most for a Power Five team since 2008.

12

Sophomore running back Audric Estimé leads the Irish with 12 touchdowns (11

rushing, one receiving) and has scored at least once in the last six games. Over that

five-game stretch, Estimé has rushed for 421 yards (6.2 ypc) with seven touchdowns.

17

Notre Dame will be playing on November 26 for the 17th time in its football history

and own a 11-4-1 record on the date. The Irish are 5-2-1 on the date against Southern

Cal and 3-2-1 in L.A. Memorial Colsieum against the Trojans. The top-ranked Irish

defeated No. 2 Southern Cal 27-10 on November 26, 1988.

19

Notre Dame has won 19 games in a row in the month of November, which dates

back to the 2018 season. The Irish last lost in November on 11/25/2017, 38-20, at

No. 21 Stanford.

30

Notre Dame is 7-0 this season when it possesses the ball for 30 or more minutes

– peaking at 40:55 of possession time against BYU. The Irish were held under 30

minutes in their three losses against Ohio State (27:01), Marshall (29:13) and Stanford

(23:53).

61

Graduate student safety Houston Griffith, who owns 32 tackles this season and

103 in his career, will match Kurt Hinish’s Notre Dame record by appearing in his 61st

game at Notre Dame this weekend.

200

Notre Dame rushed for 281 yards in the victory over Boston College which is the sixth

time the Irish have surpassed 200 yards rushing this season. Notre Dame is 105-10

(.913) since 1996 when it rushes for 200 yards or more.

2000

Michael Mayer became the 13th Notre Dame player to reach 2,000 receiving yards

in a career last weekend against Boston College. The greatest statistical tight end in

school history, Mayer is on pace to become just the fourth Notre Dame player with

175 catches in a career. He is just the 18th tight end since 1996 to reach 2,000 receiving yards in a career – and the only one to do it in three seasons. See page 9 for much

more on Mayer’s amazing career.

(USC NOTES)

THE GREATEST INTERSECTIONAL RIVALRY IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL • USC and Notre Dame…two renowned brands…two iconic football programs…it doesn’t get any better. • USC hosts the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 93rd meeting of the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football. It will be shown live nationally on ABC. • The game is a battle between schools with glorious gridiron heritages. The winner gets year-long possession of the jeweled Shillelagh. • By defeating UCLA, the Trojans have officially punched their ticket to Las Vegas to compete in the Pac-12 Championship Game. • In its last 10 games against the Irish, USC is 3-7. • USC is ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. • The AP No. 5 ranking is the highest by USC since 2017 when the Trojans were ranked No. 5 going into the Washington State game (fifth game of season). • In the second round of CFP Rankings, USC was No. 7. • The last time both teams were ranked for this matchup was 2017 when USC was No. 11 in the AP Poll and Notre Dame was No. 13. • The 10-1 start is USC’s best since the 2008 team started 10-1 and went on to finish 12-1 and defeated Penn State 38-24 in the Rose Bowl. • Lincoln Riley is one win away from tying the most victories in a debut season by a USC head coach, which was 11 by Howard Jones in 1925 and John Robinson in 1976. HE13SMAN • Leading Heisman candidate QB Caleb Williams continues to impress the nation with his dazzling performances. • Through 11 games, Williams has 33 TDs and 3 INTs. He is 250-for-385 (.649) for 3,480 yards. He has also rushed for 316 yards on 88 carries with 7 TDs. • Williams has accounted for 40 total touchdowns in 11 games at USC. • USC’s 5 consecutive games with 40 points or more are the most since the 2003 team had 7 consecutive 40+ point games. • Williams’ 316 rushing yards this year are the most by a USC QB since Troy Winslow had 319 in 1965, and he is 3 yards shy of the most by a Trojan QB in the last 70 years when complete records were first available (342 yards by Jim Sears in 1952; Sears played halfback but led USC in passing that season). • Williams is No. 3 in the nation in points responsible for per game (21.8). • He is No. 4 in the nation in passing TDs (33) and leads the Pac-12 in the stat. • He also is No. 4 in the nation in points responsible for (240) and total offense (345.1). • He’s No. 6 in the nation in passing yards (3,480) and passing yards per game (316.4). • Williams is No. 8 in the nation in passing yards per completion (13.92), No. 9 in the nation in passing efficiency (167.6) and No. 11 in the nation in yards per pass attempt (9.04). • USC is leads the nation in turnover margin (1.91) and turnovers lost (4). • It is No. 2 in the nation and No. 1 in the Pac-12 in total offense (513.0). • USC is No. 2 in the nation in 3rd down conversion percentage (.543). It is No. 3 in the nation and leads the Pac-12 in scoring offense (42.7). • USC is No. 4 in the nation in passing offense (330.8). USC is No. 6 in the nation and No. 1 in the Pac-12 in team passing efficiency (168.47). USC also leads the Pac-12 Conference in passing yards per completion (13.89). • Williams is currently No. 12 on USC’s Single Season Passing Leaders list with 250 completions. He is on pace to become USC’s all-time single season passing leader. • Former Trojan Cody Kessler, currently holds the record for the lowest rate of interceptions in a season with 1.1% (5 in 452 attempts during the 2014 season). Williams is on pace to overtake that record since he is currently at 0.8% (3 in 385 attempts). • Williams is currently tied for highest passing efficiency rating in a single USC season with Kedon Slovis (2019) at 167.6.