USC 41 Notre Dame 10
Los Angeles-After taking what would seem like Norte Dames best shot USC countered, jabbed and eventually delivered a devestating knockout blow to the struggling Irish.
Its becoming a trademark of this Trojan Team. Like a crafter boxer, it seems to defer from coming out of the gate with anything risky. The Defense plays relatively straight up, not risking much. The Offense seems to run a scripted set of plays much like solving a math problem designed specifically to test some untested theory regarding the opponents strengths and weaknesses.
Once the test results are in and the most logical point of attack is decided, the information is passed along from Norm Chow high up in the press box to Matt Leinart in the form of a play calling adjustments. At that point it becomes almost surgical, and boy can Lineart operate!
The first quarter of Saturdays game between USC and Notre Dame followed that exact script. Norte Dame led 7-3 after one quarter of play pushing the Trojan defense around handily.
Irish running back duo Ryan Grant and Darius Walker rushed for a combined 169 yards, a noteworhy accomplishment compared to its passing efforts totaling a mere 105 yards.
We did not find a way to make big plays and they did. It was our inability in all areas to make big plays. said Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham.
On its first possession Norte Dame completed a 13 play 92-yard drive to score first. After a USC field goal, the Irish put together another stellar 12 play 73-yard drive ending with a field goal. With a 10-3 lead after the first quarter the coliseum crowd of 92,611 were primed for another legendary shoot-out reminiscent of those that made this rivalry legendary.
There was one problem though, USC had completed its calculations, sized up Norte Dames weaknesses, and handed the diagnosis to Leinart in preparation for surgery. On its next possession USC completed a 12 play 73-yard drive culminating with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Leinart to super freshman Dwayne Jarrett to tie the game at 10-10 at halftime and the Trojans never looked back.
USC went on to score two touchdowns and a field goal in the third quarter. Matt Lienart threw touchdowns to Dwayne Jarrett of 12 and 57 yards.
We have so many great players it makes my job easy...I just go out there and just try to make plays said Jarrett.
The victory marks the third consecutive year that USC has beaten the Irish by exactly 31 points. Norte Dame still has a commanding lead in the series 42-29-5, but the Trojans have put together a run that may be just getting started.
gmontgomery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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