Published: Sun, October 22, 2017
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

USC vs. Notre Dame 10/21/17

USC vs. Notre Dame 10/21/17

16 Washington State on September 29, the No. 11 Trojans have rattled off back-to-back wins to bring their record to 6-1.

Notre Dame: The Irish face another ranked opponent in No. 16 North Carolina State. Brandon Wimbush is completing 52.3 percent of his passes for 782 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.

Notre Dame wore its standard blue home uniforms against USC, not its green jerseys.

The Notre Dame defense has been shockingly phenomenal at generating turnovers this season under first-year defensive coordinator Mike Elko. The Irish had no turnovers in the game.

The next was on controlling USC quarterback Sam Darnold. Equanimeous St. Brown and Alizé Mack have combined for 365 receiving yards and two touchdowns while Chase Claypool has 12 receptions.

Top Performer: Stepherson, sidelined the first four games this year for an off-the-field disciplinary matter and having taken only 23 snaps total in the next two games, snared a 23-yard touchdown on a back shoulder toss that was a hard catch, and also had runs of 13 and 11 yards off the jet sweep. The Irish out-rushed the Trojans 92-7.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley cut through Michigan's stingy defense, each scoring three touchdowns for Penn State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten), which has not lost a regular-season game since getting trounced, 49-10, by MI (5-2, 2-2) last season. Seven of Notre Dame's first 11 Irish running plays netted at least 10 yards.

Helton said Tufele wouldn't play against Notre Dame expect in an emergency because of injuries, but it reflects the level of concern with the depth on the defensive line. Featured running back Josh Adams used a huge second half to slice through USC's defense and finished with 191 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.

Notre Dame junior linebacker Te'von Coney recorded a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery on the Trojans' first offensive play, swarming Darnold as he tried to corral a high snap. USC's 103 yards total offense in the first half included minus-four yards rushing. Notre Dame needed substantial performances against substantial opponents.

Stepherson, the team's second-leading returning receiver, didn't play in the season's first four games. Football is about opportunities, and few teams are making more of theirs than Notre Dame.

Top Moment: With 3:07 left, Adams romped for an 84-yard touchdown to put the Irish ahead 42-14.

This definitely wasn't the only time Adams has had a magnificent highlight of his own this year. No other Irish player in memory has had more than five runs of 50 in a season (Reggie Brooks in 1992). Two of those turnovers were Darnold's, as he fumbled in the first quarter and threw an interception in the second.

USC: The Trojans play at Arizona State.

After Northwestern's score, Iowa moved the ball to the 18-yard line, but Nate Stanley's pass for Noah Fant on a fourth-and-3 play fell incomplete, ending the game.

And those turnovers have to be converted into touchdowns, not field goals, because USC doesn't go away. So if Notre Dame gets a lead, it has to be able to sustain that momentum until the finish of the game. Five plays later, Adams scored on a 14-yard touchdown run to make it 49-14 with 13:17 left.

USC: A second straight loss will drop the Trojans, the question is whether the blowout loss will drop them all the way out.

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