6-Points: USC 31, Notre Dame 17

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The Trojans tough it out for the program's fifth consecutive win at Notre Dame Stadium.

Click here to watch Lane Kiffin's post-game press conference in its entirety.

  • Guts - Coming out of the Cal game, the Trojans' roster appeared decimated by injuries, but senior RB Marc Tyler and freshman WR Marqise Lee overcame shoulder injuries to contribute.  "Our doctors did not think those guys would play," Lane Kiffin said.  "It says a lot about those guys to will themselves to play."  With Tyler and Lee pushing the envelope, the rest of the team followed suit, including PK Andre Heidari, who "couldn't even move his foot" at halftime, said Kiffin, but converted two second half PATs.

  • Woods-Dive-TD-McG.JPGWisdom - Matt Barkley had a solid night passing (24/35 for 224 yards and 3 TDs), but his decision-making was exceptional.  The junior quarterback guided the offense to a turnover-free game for the first time this season.  Plus, he did not take a single sack and picked up 19 yards scrambling.  He even threw a block when called upon.  "You got to do what you got to do," Barkley described the play.  "I was there and I was like, 'Oh boy, here we go!"  

  • Athleticism - Nickell Robey made a statement tonight.  Giving up seven inches and about 50 pounds to talented Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd, the sophomore corner viewed the challenge as an opportunity.  "I had it in my mind that I was going to come out here and shut him down," said Robey.  "I wanted to show the world that even though I'm a 5'8" corner, I can still shut down the biggest receivers."  Floyd finished with four catches for just 28 yards.

  • Skill - Robert Woods was the best receiver on the field yet again.  Despite constant double-teams, the sophomore reeled in 12 receptions for 119 yards and 2 TDs.   "They can try to do whatever they want to him, but it's just crazy, he still had 12 catches for over 100 yards," said an amazed Barkley.  The QB recognized single coverage on Woods to seal the game with a hitch-and-go for a 14-yard diving score (pictured above by John McGillen).

  • Starling-Fumble-ND-McG.JPGPower - USC ran the ball 30 more times than Notre Dame (44 to 14) and set a physical tone from the opening drive.  "The only way to win this game was to try to run the ball. They played very physical in all aspects of the game," Kiffin praised his team.  Curtis McNeal (video interview below) led the powerful attack with 118 yards on 24 carries.  The Trojans' offense held the ball for two-thirds of the contest (39:41).

  • Fortune - The Irish were on the brink of tying the game at USC's one-yard line late in the third quarter when backup QB Dayne Crist coughed up a snap and DB Jawanza Starling took advantage with an 80-yard scoop and score (photo by John McGillen).  "I was running for days it felt like," said Starling, who attributed the clean pick-up to his baseball background.  "There was so much adrenaline rushing.  I was running towards our fans."

Two-point conversion...

  • In an emotional moment in the post-game locker room, Kiffin gave a game ball to Ed Orgeron, who buried his father  this week, but came back to motivate the team with his inimitable fire.
  • Lane Kiffin became the first coach in USC history to win his first road game at Notre Dame Stadium.  He gets the final word: "It was our team's biggest win since we've been here."
Curtis McNeal has become the embodiment of this team, which is developing a reputation for overcoming adversity...

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Post game press conference isn't available on that link

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