NOTRE DAME VS. USC GAME NOTES
(NOTRE DAME NOTES)
(NOTRE DAME SPORTS INFORMATION)
IRISH VS. TROJANS – BY THE NUMBERS
3 Brian Kelly is the first Irish coach to post three or more shutouts in his Notre Dame career since Lou Holtz. The last Irish shutout took place in 2014 vs. Michigan (31-0), and Kelly’s first shutout as the Notre Dame head coach came vs. Wake Forest in 2012 (38-0).ˆ 3 Only two Irish coaches have totaled more wins vs. USC than Brian Kelly’s six victories: Lou Holtz (nine) and Frank Leahy (eight). 4 Brady Quinn, Tommy Rees, Jimmy Clausen, Ron Powlus and Ian Book are the only quarterbacks in Notre Dame history to record four or more touchdown passes in three games in their career. Book joined the group after recording five passing touchdowns vs. Bowling Green. 4 QB Ian Book threw just four incomplete passes vs. Bowling Green, a total which was one fewer than his passing touchdowns total. Phil Jurkovec completed five of seven passes and added a touchdown, which put the Irish at equal amounts of touchdowns thrown to incomplete passes. 5 QB Ian Book threw five touchdown passes in the first half vs. Bowling Green, matching his career high in a game (vs. New Mexico, 2019) and marking the first time in program history an Irish QB recorded five touchdown passes in a half. 6 S Jalen Elliott notched an interception to end the first half vs. Bowling Green, totaling six interceptions since the beginning of 2018. Only two players in the FBS have recorded more (Andre Cisco, Syracuse – 9 and Jevon Holland, Oregon – 8). 10 Brian Kelly is in his 10th season as the head coach at the University of Notre Dame. He is the fifth Irish coach to spend a decade or more at the school (Knute Rockne, 13; Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Lou Holtz 11). 14 Notre Dame has won 14 consecutive games at Notre Dame Stadium, including a 6-0 clean slate last season. It is the third-longest winning streak at home for the Irish since Notre Dame Stadium opened in 1930. 20 Last week, Irish quarterbacks totaled nine completions for 20 or more yards, which ties for the FBS lead (Texas Tech and Miami, Fla.). 20 Notre Dame remains perfect in redzone-scoring percentage, converting on 20-of-20 visits inside the 20. 17 of those scores were touchdowns (10 rushing, seven passing). Just three other teams boast perfection in the redzone (Tulane, Iowa and LSU), and of those teams, only LSU (26) has totaled more redzone touchdowns than the Irish. 30 Notre Dame has held its opponents to 30 points or less in 19 consecutive games, a streak only topped by Washington (20) for the FBS lead in that category. The streak spans defensive coordinator Clark Lea’s entire tenure with the Irish. 51.6 Notre Dame’s defense leads the FBS in opponent passing attempts per touchdown, holding squads to 51.6 attempts per touchdown. This averages nearly 10 more attempts per touchdown than any other FBS team. The Irish are most closely trailed in this category by Mississippi State (41.9). With 52 total points vs. Bowling Green, it marked the second time this season the Irish recorded at least 50 points. The last time Notre Dame reached that plateau in multiple games in a season was in 2011, when the Irish did it twice (vs. Air Force and vs. Navy). It is Notre Dame’s largest shutout margin since 1996, when Lou Holtz’s Irish beat Rutgers, 62-0. 270 The Notre Dame Stadium sell-out streak stands at 270 consecutive games, the second-longest in NCAA history. 351ˆ Games coached by Brian Kelly in his career, second among active coaches in the NCAA to Mack Brown (North Carolina). 1,211 Notre Dame running backs have gone 1,211 carries without losing a fumble – dating back to Nov. 21, 2015. It is the longest active streak in the FBS, trailed by Northwestern’s 1,152-carry streak.
LAST TIME: SOUTHERN CAL • November 24, 2018 – In the final game of Notre Dame’s regular season, the Irish traveled to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and defeated the Trojans 24-17. • Notre Dame overcame its largest deficit of the season (10 points) in a win that saw WR Chris Finke and RB Tony Jones Jr. catch touchdown passes from QB Ian Book, while RB Dexter Williams rushed for another. CB Julian Love totaled a career-high 12 tackles, while S Alohi Gilman added 10 and CB Troy Pride Jr. and LB Drue Tranquill each added nine. • Completing an undefeated season, the Irish punched their ticket to the College Football playoff as a No. 3 seed and played No. 2 Clemson in the Cotton Bowl.
ENTERING GAME 6 TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS • For the first time in Notre Dame history, an Irish team recorded six touchdown passes in two games during the same season (vs. New Mexico and vs. Bowling Green). The six touchdown passes match the Irish team record for passing touchdowns in a game. • With 52 total points vs. Bowling Green, it marked the second time this season the Irish recorded at least 50 points. The last time Notre Dame reached that plateau in multiple games in a season was in 2011 when the Irish did it twice (vs. Air Force and vs. Navy). • Against Bowling Green, Notre Dame’s 35-0 halftime lead was the largest since opening a 35-0 halftime margin over Rutgers in 1996. • The Irish notched a top-10 ranking for the 22nd-consecutive week – the fourth-longest active streak in college football (behind Alabama, Clemson and Georgia). This is the most consecutive weeks within the top 10 for Notre Dame since 1991 (50). • Notre Dame has been ranked in the top 25 for 35-consecutive weeks, the longest such streak for the Irish since the 1997 season. • The contest vs. Virginia marked the second-consecutive week Notre Dame appeared in the week’s highest-ranked matchup (lowest total of both squads’ rankings). From 2015-2018 among all FBS teams, it has only happened three times: Alabama (Weeks 7-8, 2016; Weeks 10-11, 2018) and Penn State (Weeks 8-9, 2017). As the current AP rankings stand, the only other team with scheduled back-to-back top-ranked matchups in 2019 is Florida in Weeks 6-7.
(USC SPORTS INFORMATION)
USC FOOTBALL GOES TO NO. 9 NOTRE DAME FOR ANNUAL INTERSECTIONAL CLASH THEMES *USC takes a break from Pac-12 competition and begins October play when it goes to No. 9 Notre Dame for the 91st edition of the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football. *The game is a battle between schools with perhaps the country’s most glorious gridiron heritages. The winner gets year-long possession of the jeweled Shillelagh. *The Trojans have won 11 of the past 17 meetings with the Irish, but all 6 losses have been since 2010. Troy has won 6 of the past 11 in South Bend, but has dropped the past 3, including in 2015 just 6 days after Clay Helton was installed as USC’s interim head coach. *USC, which was off last week after its loss at Washington, has beaten the Irish the last 5 times that Troy was coming off a bye. *This equals the earliest on the calendar that USC has played Notre Dame. *This is just the fifth Trojan night game ever at Notre Dame Stadium (2011 was the first) and also ties for the latest USC-ND kickoff time ever. *Expect a sellout again at Notre Dame Stadium (the past 270 contests there have been at capacity). *USC’s offense has averaged nearly 30 points and 430 total yards per game despite having 3 different starting quarterbacks to date (JT Daniels, Kedon Slovis, Matt Fink). Slovis, a true freshman who missed the Washington game with a concussion, has completed nearly 78% of his aerials (the second best mark in the nation). USC’s receiving corps is among the nation’s elite: WRs Michael Pittman Jr. (Top 25 nationally in receptions and receiving yards), Tyler Vaughns (15th on USC’s career receptions chart) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (already with 84 catches in his young career). The Trojan offensive line–led by OT Austin Jackson and OG Alijah Vera-Tucker–has allowed just 6 sacks to date. The Trojan running game, coming off a 212- yard outing at Washington, has 3 dynamic rushers in TBs Vavae Malepeai, Stephen Carr and Markese Stepp. The offense, however, has been hampered by turnovers (13 overall), with a third of opponents’ points coming directly after a miscue. USC’s defense is young (9 starters are freshmen or sophomores) and has been hampered by injuries to key personnel (i.e. S Talanoa Hufanga, DL Christian Rector, CB Olaijah Griffin, ILB Jordan Iosefa), although the bye week helped with their recovery. Other defenders making an impact include ILBs John Houston Jr. and Palaie Gaoteote IV, DLs Jay Tufele, Marlon Tuipulotu and Drake Jackson and S Isaiah Pola-Mao. PK Chase McGrath has yet to miss a kick in 2019 and WR Velus Jones Jr. has moved to second on USC’s career kickoff return ladder, trailing only Adoree’ Jackson. *Under 10th-year head coach Brian Kelly, the winningest active coach in FBS, Notre Dame has won its last 14 home games, including big last week over Bowling Green. ND’s offense is first nationally in red zone offense, having scored on all 20 trips in the red zone, and in the Top 15 in passing efficiency and scoring offense. QB Ian Book, 16th in the country in passing efficiency, is a threat throwing (1,254 yards, 13 TDs) and running (139 yards) the ball. RB Tony Jones Jr. leads the Irish ground attack, while WR Chase Claypool and TE Cole Kmet are the top pass catchers. The Irish defense, which has held its last 19 opponents to 30 points or less, is second nationally in turnover margin, fifth in tackles for loss, 13th in scoring defense and 17th in pass defense. Key defenders include LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, S Alohi Gilman, LB Drew White and LB Asmar Bilal. RANKINGS *USC is not ranked in the AP sports media or Amway coaches poll this week. Notre Dame is ninth in the AP poll and 10th by the coaches. SERIES *Notre Dame leads the series with USC, which began in 1926, 48-36-5 (not including Troy’s 2005 victory that was later vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 48-37-5). Including that 2005 vacated game, USC has won 11 of the last 17 meetings and 14 of the last 23 (including 8 in a row from 2002 to 2009), but ND has won 6 of the last 9. Since 1967, USC has gone 25-23-3 (not including the 2005 vacated game; original record: 26-23-3). *In South Bend, USC is 13-26-1 (not including the 2005 vacated game; original record: 14-26-1), with 2 other USC losses in Chicago. USC has lost in its last 3 trips to South Bend, but Troy had won the previous 5 times there and 6 of the previous 8.
*The Trojans’ last visit to South Bend was in 2017 under the lights, as No. 13 Notre Dame–behind RB Josh Adams’ 191 rushing yards with 3 touchdowns and QB Brandon Wimbush’s 106 rushing yards with 2 scores along with 2 passing TDs–jumped out to a 28-point halftime lead and easily defeated No. 11 USC, 49-14. It was the most points by the Irish against USC since also getting 49 in 1977, as well as their second largest victory margin over the Trojans since 1966 (51-0). *In 2018 in Los Angeles in the teams’ most recent meeting, QB Ian Book threw for 352 yards and 2 touchdowns and RB Dexter Williams ran for a TD to help undefeated No. 3 Notre Dame overcome a 10-0 deficit and score 24 unanswered points en route to a 24-17 victory over USC in the Coliseum. The loss ended USC’s season with a 5-7 record, its first losing campaign and first bowl-less non-sanction year since 2000. See page 4 for a complete recap of that most recent matchup. GOOD BYES *USC is 97-46-4 in all regular season games it has played following byes. Since 1955, the Trojans are 58- 17-1 following byes (6 of those losses and the tie were to UCLA). (Not including 2 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty; original records: 99-46-4 overall, 60-17-1 since 1955.) VERSUS ND AFTER BYE *USC has a 7-4-1 record against Notre Dame when the Trojans were coming off a bye week leading into the game. Troy’s wins were in 1932-39-72-80-2004-08-09, the losses in 1937-41-42-47 and the tie in 1948. USC has won the past 5 such meetings. EARLIEST USC-ND GAME *This Saturday’s (Oct. 12) meeting equals the earliest on the calendar that USC and Notre Dame have played (also in 1963, a 17-14 Irish win). USC-ND AT NIGHT *This year’s USC-Notre Dame game is just the fifth Trojan night game ever at Notre Dame Stadium (2011 was the first and it also happened in 2013, 2015 and 2017). It also ties with those games as the latest USCND game ever, as all 12 such night encounters in Los Angeles were 5 p.m. starts. AT NIGHT *USC owns a 178-64-4 (.732) all-time record at night, including 106-29-4 in the Coliseum, 57-28 on the road and 15-7 at neutral sites. (Does not include 5 wins and 1 loss vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 183-65-4, .734 overall, 109-29-4 in the Coliseum, 17-8 at neutral sites.) IN OCTOBER *USC has a 309-121-19 (.709) all-time record while playing in the month of October (not including 5 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty; revised record: 314-121-19, .713). ARTIFICIAL TURF *USC is 43-29-1 in its last 73 games on artificial turf (not including 3 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 46-29-1). RAIN/COLD/SNOW *USC has a 23-23-2 record in games in which it rained during a major portion of the contest. USC’s last rain game was versus Notre Dame at home in 2016 (USC won, 45-27). *USC is 12-11-1 in “cold weather” games (where the cold temperature had such an impact on the game that it was mentioned in the media’s game recaps). The last time USC played a “cold weather” game was at Utah in 2016 (a 31-27 loss when it was 45 degrees at kickoff). The coldest game in USC history: 20 degrees in the snow at Notre Dame in 1957 (a 40-12 loss). The second coldest USC games were 29 degrees at the 1949, 1952 and 1959 Notre Dame games in South Bend and the 2013 Colorado road game. *The last time USC played in snow was Nov. 30, 1957 at Notre Dame (the Irish won, 40-12). It was 20 degrees. The 1965 USC-Notre Dame game in South Bend was played in sleet and rain (the Irish won that one, 28-7).
LAST MEETING: QB Ian Book threw for 352 yards and 2 touchdowns and RB Dexter Williams ran for a TD to help undefeated No. 3 Notre Dame overcome a 10-0 deficit and score 24 unanswered points en route to a 24-17 victory over USC before 59,821 fans in the Coliseum and a national ABC audience. The loss ended USC’s season with a 5-7 record, its first losing campaign and first bowl-less non-sanction year since 2000. USC jumped out to a 10-0 lead (ND’s biggest deficit of 2018), as TB Vavae Malepeai had a 14-yard TD run on the game-opening drive and then PK Michael Brown hitting a 30-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Notre Dame scored late in the half on Book’s 24-yard pass to WR Chris Finke. A pair of lost fumbles stalled USC first-half drives deep in Irish territory (at the ND 33- and 15-yard lines). Williams gave Notre Dame the lead for good on a 52-yard scoring burst early in the second half and PK Justin Yoon added a 46-yard field goal late in the third quarter. Book’s 51-yard TD pass to RB Tony Jones Jr. extended ND’s lead late in the fourth quarter before USC answered right back on QB JT Daniels’ 20-yard scoring toss to WR Tyler Vaughns with 48 seconds to play. But the Irish recovered the ensuing on-side kick. USC held the ball for 34:11, but the Irish managed slightly more total yards (473 to 443). USC’s 443 total yards were the most surrendered by ND in 2018. Troy converted 7-of-15 first downs, but was penalized 8 times. Daniels completed a USC-record 37 passes (on 51 attempts) for a careerbest 349 yards in the game. He hit his first 4 passes of the game and 6 of his first 7, was 16-of-17 in the first quarter, connected on 18 of his first 19 throws (including 14 completions in a row) and finished the first half 26-of-31 for 244 yards. Vaughns had a career-high and game-leading 12 catches for 120 yards (with 10 grabs in the first half), while WR Amon-Ra St. Brown had a personal-best 10 receptions (8 in the opening half) for 94 yards and WR Michael Pittman Jr. had 7 catches for 91 yards. TB Aca’Cedric Ware ran for 68 yards on 13 carries. ILB Cameron Smith had a game-best 12 tackles. For Notre Dame, Book was 22-of-39 passing, Williams ran for 97 yards on 16 carries and caught 5 passes for 54 yards and Finke had 7 receptions for 86 yards. Book’s completion percentage was a season-low 56.4% (he entered the game second nationally at 72.6%). The crowd was the smallest for a USC-Notre Dame game in the Coliseum since 1960 (28,297).