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GAMEDAY College Football

Southern Cal 38, Notre Dame 27

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES - Caleb Willams polished his Heisman Trophy credentials with 232 yards passing and four total touchdowns, and No. 5 Southern California capped its outstanding regular season under new coach Lincoln Riley by staying firmly in the College Football Playoff race with a 38-27 victory over No. 13 Notre Dame.

Tahj Washington caught an early TD pass from Williams while USC (11-1, No. 6 CFP) snapped its four-game losing streak in its famed intersectional rivalry with the Fighting Irish (8-4, No. 15 CFP).

The night felt like a Heisman coronation for Williams, who iced the win on his third rushing touchdown with 2:35 to play by sprinting 16 yards through the heart of the Notre Dame defense for the 44th total TD of his incredible season. Williams struck a Heisman pose on the USC sideline after a score in the first half, and he was serenaded with frequent chants of "Heisman! Heisman!" from the Coliseum crowd.

Although USC is headed to Pac-12 title game in Las Vegas on Friday, the revitalized Trojans first kept their CFP hopes intact with this victory - and even got a boost from LSU's loss to Texas A&M during this game. USC became the first team to gain 400 yards and to score more than 32 points this season against the Irish while completing its first 11-win regular season since 2008.

Drew Pyne passed for 318 yards and hit Michael Mayer for two of his three TDs for the Irish, whose five-game winning streak ended in their regular-season finale under new coach Marcus Freeman. Pyne completed his first 15 throws into the fourth quarter, but he ultimately couldn't keep up with Williams, and the Irish surrendered the Jeweled Shillelagh in their first trip to the Coliseum since 2018.

The 93rd edition of this rivalry was a showcase for Williams, the sophomore who followed Riley from Oklahoma to USC last winter and quickly reached his extraordinary potential on the West Coast. With a pocket elusiveness that had Notre Dame's defense embracing air and a lively arm at nearly any distance, Williams set single-season records for quarterbacks in total touchdowns and yards rushing at a school rich in talent at the position.

After repeatedly eluding the Notre Dame defense on USC's final drive of the first half, Williams rushed for a 5-yard TD up the middle on a perfect run-pass option. When the quarterback reached the USC sideline, he smilingly struck a Heisman pose to his teammates.

Williams added another TD run on the first snap of the fourth quarter, and he punctuated it by blowing kisses to the USC student section.

Austin Jones rushed for a career-high 154 yards as USC never trailed, but never pulled away from the tenacious Irish.

Washington's 11-yard catch-and-run TD capped USC's opening drive, and the Trojans got to the Notre Dame 2 on their second drive before Williams was flagged for offensive pass interference during a failed attempt at a Philly Special.

After Williams unleashed a 58-yard punt on a fourth-down trick play, the Irish got on the board midway through the second quarter with Pyne's 22-yard TD throw to Mayer, Notre Dame's vaunted tight end.

After Pyne fumbled in USC territory on Notre Dame's first drive after halftime, Williams led a 74-yard drive capped by Raleek Brown's untouched TD run for a 24-7 lead.

Deion Colzie and Logan Diggs scored later in the second half, but Williams kept the Trojans in front until Calen Bullock made his fifth interception of the season for USC with 4:56 to play, boosting the Trojans' turnover margin to an astronomical plus-23.

THE TAKEAWAY

Notre Dame: The Irish ultimately couldn't stop Williams, but that's hardly a unique predicament this season. After a rocky start, Freeman's debut season ultimately offers much more hope than concern.

USC: Williams' brilliance is the main reason for the Trojans' turnaround, considering the defense gave up 408 yards and again had trouble getting off the field against an elite opponent. Yet USC repeatedly has done enough to win, with its only blemish a one-point road loss to Utah. The Trojans have proved they're playoff-worthy if the numbers work out for them.

November 26, 2022


Scoring Summary
First Quarter NDUSC
USC TD 10:36 Tahj Washington 11 yard TD pass from Caleb Williams (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 0 7
USC FG 3:29 Denis Lynch 31 yard field goal 0 10
Second Quarter NDUSC
ND TD 6:14 Michael Mayer 22 yard TD pass from Drew Pyne (Blake Grupe Extra Point) 7 10
USC TD 0:34 Caleb Williams 5 yard TD run (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 7 17
Third Quarter NDUSC
USC TD 8:21 Raleek Brown 5 yard TD run (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 7 24
ND TD 5:54 Deion Colzie 23 yard TD pass from Drew Pyne (Blake Grupe Extra Point) 14 24
Fourth Quarter NDUSC
USC TD 14:53 Caleb Williams 3 yard TD run (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 14 31
ND TD 11:29 Logan Diggs 5 yard TD run (Blake Grupe Extra Point) 21 31
USC TD 2:35 Caleb Williams 16 yard TD run (Denis Lynch Extra Point) 21 38
ND TD 1:02 Michael Mayer 24 yard TD pass from Drew Pyne (Michael Mayer 2pt conversion attempt is NO GOOD) 27 38
Team Stats
  Notre Dame USC
First downs 23 23
  Rushing 6 11
  Passing 15 10
  Penalty 2 2
3rd Down Efficiency 5-7, 71% 8-12, 67%
4th down efficiency 0-1, 0% 1-1, 100%
Rushes-Yards 26-90 39-204
Passing Yards 318 232
Return Yards 86 10
Completions-Attempts-Int 23-26-1 18-22-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 2-16 2-16
Punts 1 2
Fumbles Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties - Yards 4-39 6-55
Notre Dame Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
D. Pyne 23 26 318 3 1
USC Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
C. Williams 18 22 232 1 0
Notre Dame Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
A. Estime 6 43 7.2 0
L. Diggs 12 34 2.8 1
C. Tyree 2 24 12.0 0
M. Evans 1 0 0.0 0
D. Pyne 5 -11 -2.2 0
USC Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
A. Jones 25 154 6.2 0
C. Williams 9 35 3.9 3
J. Addison 1 13 13.0 0
R. Brown 2 7 3.5 1
D. Barlow 1 -3 -3.0 0
Notre Dame Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
M. Mayer 8 98 12.3 2
D. Colzie 3 75 25.0 1
L. Styles 4 34 8.5 0
L. Diggs 3 32 10.7 0
A. Estime 2 31 15.5 0
B. Lenzy 1 25 25.0 0
J. Thomas 2 23 11.5 0
USC Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Addison 3 45 15.0 0
M. Williams 4 37 9.3 0
L. McRee 2 37 18.5 0
T. Washington 3 34 11.3 1
B. Rice 1 25 25.0 0
R. Brown 2 24 12.0 0
A. Jones 1 16 16.0 0
M. Jackson III 1 9 9.0 0
K. Ford 1 5 5.0 0
Notre Dame Interceptions
Player Int Yards
USC Interceptions
Player Int Yards
C. Bullock 1 11
Notre Dame Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Sot 1 39 39.0
USC Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
C. Williams 2 84 42.0
Notre Dame Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
USC Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Notre Dame Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
C. Tyree 3 49 16.3
L. Styles 1 37 37.0
USC Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
K. Foreman 1 -1 -1.0
Notre Dame Missed FG
Player Length
USC Missed FG
Player Length




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