Notre Dame Completes Undefeated Regular Season, Defeats USC 22-13
Last month, it was a goal-line stand in overtime that propelled Notre Dame to a 20-13 home victory over the Stanford Cardinal. After five more victories, including close calls against BYU and Pittsburgh, the Fighting Irish found themselves in another situation where a goal-line stand would help secure a victory. Between some questionable play-calling from USC head coach Lane Kiffin and poor execution by the Trojans offense, it was Notre Dame walking out of The Coliseum in Los Angeles with a 22-13 victory over USC and completing their first perfect regular season since 1988.
Notre Dame's offense was powered by running back Theo Riddick, who really set the tone throughout the game by rushing for 146 yards and a touchdown. Another key contributor was kicker Kyle Brindza, who kicked five field goals en route to the victory. The main "field general" for the Irish tonight was Everett Golson, who passed for 217 yards and didn't commit a single turnover.
On the other side, the Trojans turned to redshirt freshman quarterback Max Wittek to lead them into the field of battle, who passed for 186 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Wittek showed some growing pains throughout the game, but also showed great poise in certain situations, including the 53-yard pass to star wide receiver Marqise Lee that set up the eventual goal-line stand by the Irish.
For now, Notre Dame and head coach Brian Kelly have to simply sit and wait to see what happens over the next few weeks during conference championship games. But one thing seems to be a certainty - the Irish are the top-ranked team in the nation and will be going to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game on January 7.