|Date of game: 10/19/2013
Recap: Notre Dame vs. USC
South Bend, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Tommy Rees threw a pair of touchdown passes and the Fighting Irish defense played tough from start to finish as Notre Dame defeated USC, 14-10, in a non-conference battle at Notre Dame Stadium.
Rees finished with 166 yards on 14-of-21 efficiency for Notre Dame (5-2) as it picked up its second-straight victory. Cam McDaniel contributed 92 yards on 18 rushes while Troy Niklas and T.J. Jones both made four catches for 58 and 46 yards, respectively. Niklas and Jones were also able to make one touchdown reception apiece.
USC (4-3) lost for second time in three games and for the first time under interim head coach Ed Orgeron. Cody Kessler completed 20-of-34 pass attempts for 201 yards and an interception. Silas Redd racked up 112 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Nelson Agholor made six catches for 89 yards while Darreus Rogers reeled in six receptions for 60 yards. Marqise Lee was bottled up and recorded just two catches for 18 yards in the loss.
The Trojans struck first as Redd punched it in from a yard out to conclude a 13-play, 96-yard drive that gave the visitors a 7-0 advantage with 4:03 remaining in the opening quarter.
Notre Dame answered as Rees completed a seven-yard scoring strike to Niklas as time expired in the first quarter. Kyle Brindza chipped in his extra-point attempt to send the game into the second period tied up at seven.
After Andre Heidari missed a 40-yard field goal attempt in the early stages of the second quarter, he made up for it by chipping in a 22-yard attempt that gave USC a 10-7 lead with 7:50 left before halftime. The Fighting Irish responded as Rees completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jones with just over a minute left in the half that gave them a 14-10 lead at the intermission.
Both defenses stood strong in the third quarter. USC's longest drive of the period went just 16 yards before Kessler was intercepted by Jaylon Smith. Notre Dame's most productive drive of the quarter yielded only 22 yards before it was forced to punt.
The Trojans had a chance to narrow the deficit in the fourth frame, however Heidari's 46-yard field goal try was no good. The Fighting Irish could not capitalize on the missed kick as McDaniel lost a fumble forced by Su'a Cravens, who then recovered the loose ball to give USC possession at Notre Dame's 34-yard line with 6:27 left in regulation. The Trojans managed to drive down to the Notre Dame 21-yard line before losing 15 combined yards on holding and false start penalties. Kessler was sacked on fourth-and-long, which returned possession to the Fighting Irish with 2:49 left to play.
USC's defense continued its strong play and forced a three-and-out. The Trojans took over on their own 25-yard line with one final chance. Kessler completed a 32-yard pass to Agholor to begin the drive with some promise and found Agholor on the next play for a seven-yard gain. However, Kessler's next three pass attempts fell incomplete, which sealed the victory for the hosts.
Despite the loss, USC held a 330-295 edge in total yards of offense. The Trojans went 2-of-13 on third-down conversions while Notre Dame moved the chains on four of its 14 third down plays.Game Notes