Final score: Notre Dame 48 USC 20.
And that should just about do it. On 4th and 9, Caleb Williams is sacked. Turnover on downs. Notre Dame gets the ball on the 15-yard line with 4:49 remaining in the game.
Notre Dame 38 USC 20
This was an all-around poor performance. The defense did look improved overall but still did give up some back-breaking plays. The offense looks lost right now. Caleb doesn’t look like himself. Receivers can’t get open. Plays are taking too long to develop. The run game is inconsistent.
A lot of bad, and not a lot of good. We will have PLENTY to talk about on the next Salute To Troy Podcast.
I didn’t think I would have to add more to this live blog, but SC fumbled two more times, and one of them returned for a touchdown.
Turnover margin: USC 5 Notre Dame 0
Take one step forward, take two steps back. That has kind of been the vibe of the USC season.— Ryan Dyrud (@RyanDyrudLAFB) October 15, 2023
Back to a 3-score game after the Notre Dame 99-yard kickoff return.
Start Of The 4th Quarter – Notre Dame 31 USC 13 – Notre Dame Ball
Zachariah Branch SIGHTING. 44-yard punt that Branch turns into a 60-yard return. SC has the ball on the 18-yard line.
USC burned 2:09 off the clock, but they are able to capitalize on a Caleb Williams touchdown pass to Brenden Rice.
This was Williams’ first touchdown on the night. The score is now Notre Dame 31 USC 20.
3:54 Left In 3rd Quarter – USC Ball
Just when it was looking like the USC defense had really turned things around and was exerting some dominance, they give up two first downs, and then a 46-yard touchdown pass from Sam Hartman to Chris Tyree.
The defense really has played much much better tonight, but it is back-breaking big plays like that that cost this team every week.
With 3:54 left in the 3rd quarter and Notre Dame leading 31-13, the SC offense is pretty much going to need to score on every possession…and fast.
After back-to-back sacks, SC is forced to punt. We are at the point now, where the Fighting Irish know SC has to throw the ball pretty much every down and they are just beating up the SC offensive line.
End of the 3rd quarter: Notre Dame 31 USC 13
10:53 Left In The 3rd Quarter – USC Ball At The USC 43 Yard-Line
After USC commits an offensive pass interference, Notre Dame returns the favor with a PI of their own. Ball moved back to the 43 yard-line.
TOUCHDOWN USC! After not reaching the end zone for 2 and a half quarters, the Trojans reach pay dirt on a nice running option when Williams tossed the ball to Lloyd who turned on the jets for 31 yards. The comeback begins.
Beautiful option play who turned on the jets for 31 yards. SC reaches the end zone for the first tonight. For how sloppy the offense has played, with 3 interceptions from Caleb Williams, it is a two-possession game.@USC_LAFB— Ryan Dyrud (@RyanDyrudLAFB) October 15, 2023
USC 13 Notre Dame 24
3rd Quarter Begins
This is a HUGE drive for the USC defense. If they can get a quick stop, perhaps they can shift some momentum, and you’ve got to think that Caleb and the offense can get something going. If they allow ND to score, it’s gonna be really tough to come all the way back against this defense.
And they are able to do it! A quick 3 and out. Now let’s see what the USC offense can do.
Well, the offense looks just as they did to end the first half. Incomplete on first down. Negative play on 2nd down. And a near interception on 3rd down. Trojans punt.
Back-to-back weeks now where the offense has not looked good.
The defense is really playing well so far. Playing fast and physical and rallying to the football. At this point, it certainly isn’t their fault that this is a 24-6 game. Defense forces another 3 and out after a tremendous play in the flat stopping what looked like a wide-open receiver for a minimal gain of one yard on 3rd down.
Halftime: Notre Dame 24 USC 6
5:07 Left In The First Half – SC Ball At Their Own 6 Yard-Line
After a nice slant pass to Zacariah Branch for 10 yards, the Trojans are afforded some breathing room. However, on the very next play, Williams doesn’t see the underneath double coverage and throws an easy interception. It was slightly tipped, but it was a really poor decision regardless. ND returns it to the 2 yard-line, and the Fighting Irish punch it in on the very next play.
17-3 Notre Dame leads with 4:14 left in the first half.
And Caleb Williams just threw his THIRD INT of the First Half. Really struggling to read the ND defense.— Ryan Dyrud (@RyanDyrudLAFB) October 15, 2023
The Fighting Irish make quick work of Caleb Williams’ 3rd interception of the half. They march right down the field and Audric Estime gets in the end zone from 2 yards out.
If any player and any team can come back from this deficit, it’s Caleb Williams and the USC offense, but A LOT is going to need to change and it starts with protecting the football. SC is currently outgaining Notre Dame, but 3 turnovers and a turnover on downs definitely not a winning recipe.
Not really sure what Riley is doing on this possession with the clock management. SC is able to convert a first down, but burned through both timeouts after back to back run plays. After a nice pass from Williams to Tahj Washington, Williams is sacked on the next play. Notre Dame was celebrating in the backfield, so they were forced to take a timeout with 2 seconds left. USC trotted out Denis Lynch who was able to convert a 48-yard field goal.
Halftime: USC 6 Notre Dame 24
2nd Quarter Begins
The Fighting Irish were able to move the ball down into the red zone, but the Trojans Defense played stout against the run, and limited the passing potential, holding ND to a field goal. 10-3 Fighting Irish.
On USC’s ensuing possession they were able to move the ball to midfield, but a loss of 3 yards on a 3rd down run by Lloyd forced the punt team out. On the punt, Notre Dame was given a running into the kicker penalty. It was only a 5-yard penalty, so USC still faced a 4th and 1, but they decided to trot the offense out there!
Caleb Williams with a BEAUTIFUL play fake QB keeper, runs it to the outside for 8 yards and a first down. The drive stays alive!
Two plays later, Caleb Williams did it again with another beautiful option read where he kept it and ran it all the way to pay dirt. But it would not hold as a holding on Emmanuel Pregnon wiped out the touchdown.
On 4th and 1, Coach Riley calls a shotgun draw play. Austin Jones is met immediately in the backfield. Turnover on Downs. This Notre Dame defense is tough, but the SC offense is certainly helping them out. I do want to point out that I really dislike doing anything slow developing (draw play) on a 4th and 1 situation.
It's still early, but tell you what man, this SC defense is playing MUCH better so far tonight. #FightOn— Ryan Dyrud (@RyanDyrudLAFB) October 15, 2023
After the turnover on downs, the defense forces a quick 3 and out. There is still A LOT of football to play, but so far this unit looks extremely improved. On the first possession, they were backed into a corner with Notre Dame getting the ball on the 11 yard-line. After that, they have only given up 3 points, and have been stout in run defense.
End Of The 1st Quarter – Notre Dame Leads 7-3 And Has The Ball
8:22 Left In The 1st Quarter – Notre Dame Possession
After a quick first down on the first play of the possession, the Trojan defense really tightened up and forced a punt. That was the type of possession that the USC defense will need to display for the rest of the game.
That was a really nice possession from the USC defense. They looked much more physical after the 1st down play.— Ryan Dyrud (@RyanDyrudLAFB) October 14, 2023
The key will be doing that consistently for the rest of the game. #FightOn
On the first play of the next Trojans drive, Caleb Williams was able to scramble out of the pocket and run for an 11-yard gain. Notre Dame was called for a holding penalty, tacking on 10 more yards to the play.
After being shut out last week against Arizona, Dorian Singer gets on the board early with a nice 11-yard reception over the middle. Singer is a player that this offense needs to get going. He has such big play ability, they just need to get him more involved.
And of course, as I write that, Caleb goes right back to Singer on a beautiful back shoulder throw. Unfortunately, Singer is called for pass interference on a push-off, moving the ball back 15 yards. And then after a nice little screen pass to Michael Jackson III, Notre Dame is called for a personal foul, giving the Trojans the ball at the 14 yard-line. Back-and-forth penalties!
USC is unable to capitalize inside the 10 yard-line and settle for a field goal.
7-3 Notre Dame leads.
1st Quarter Begins.
The USC Trojans start with the ball. Facing a 3rd and long Caleb Williams finds Brenden Rice for a first down. But on the very next play, Williams overthrows McRee leading to an interception returned all the way down to the 11 yard-line. This was Caleb Williams’ 2nd interception of the season.
With the short field, Notre Dame is able to convert the turnover into a touchdown. The touchdown play was a 4-yard pass from Sam Hartman to Gi’Bran Payne. Notre Dame has a quick 7-0 lead.
On USC’s next possession, after a short run from Austin Jones, Notre Dame commits a holding penalty, giving USC 10 yards, and a fresh set of downs.
This Notre Dame defense converges on the ball extremely fast.
After a snap infraction and a minimal gain on 2nd down, the Trojans faced yet another 3rd and long. They were unable to convert and were forced to punt. During Coach Riley’s media availability on Thursday, he talked about the importance of gaining positive yards on 1st and 2nd downs to make 3rd downs much more manageable. So far through two drives, the Trojans have been unable to do that.
Hey, what’s up Trojans fans! Ryan Dyrud is live at Notre Dame Stadium for the 94th meeting between your USC Trojans and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Welcome to the USC Vs Notre Dame Live Blog! We will have updates for you all throughout the game, as well as interactive polls and elements so that you can give your opinion to the LAFB community on how the game is going!
See you in about 2 hours. Fight On!