6-Points: USC 45, Notre Dame 27

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The Trojans finish the regular season by winning their eighth consecutive game, securing the Shillelagh to go along with the Victory Bell.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

Adoree.jpgShow Stopper

In the long history of the USC - Notre Dame rivalry, this game may not go down as a classic, but the fans on both sides will always remember Adoree' Jackson's performance. "Marvel ought to make him a superhero character," said USC head coach Clay Helton about his electrifying junior. "The guy made 21 points today for us." Jackson accounted for a game-high 291 all-purpose yards, including a 52-yard TD catch, a 55-yard punt return touchdown and a 97-yard kickoff return for six. "That's an incredible player right there," said CB Ajene Harris about his teammate. "I wish I had the speed that he has."

Sack Lunch

Defensively, the Trojans cut the head off the snake by constantly attacking Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer. "We had to give him different looks and kind of mix up the picture for him and get him a little confused because if you let him sit there, he'll eat you alive," said senior LB Michael Hutchings. The Trojans racked up a season-high six sacks led by 1.5 from team-leader Porter Gustin. The USC defense also continued its tremendous efficiency on third down, limiting the Fighting Irish to 5 of 17.

Wet and Wild

Halfway through the second quarter, the normally blue Southern California skies turned dark, gray and grim, unloading wind and rain on the Coliseum. The Trojans embraced the chaos, dancing and exhorting the crowd. "It's just an energetic team," said Harris. "It's really good to see everyone energetic on the sideline and helping our team out on the field." The sideline excitement galvanized the Trojans leading directly to Jackson's punt return for a touchdown and then Harris stepping in front of a Kizer pass for his first career pick-six. "I am the biggest fan of non-offensive touchdowns on the face of the earth right now," said Helton, who got three of them on a day when moving the ball was made difficult by the conditions.

Running Room

The USC offense continues to be crafted into the mold that Helton imagined when he took over the team last season. The Trojans offensive line "owned the line of scrimmage" and paved the way for another huge afternoon on the ground. Sophomore RB Ronald Jones II ran for 134 yards and a TD on 16 carries. USC topped 200 yards rushing as a team for the fourth time in the last five games. "We were just able to get them reached, a lot of wide zone and a lot of big yards," said senior RT Zach Banner. "I couldn't be more proud of my offensive line."

Senior Salute

The USC senior class has been "through thick and hell" as Banner said, so winning back-to-back rivalry games was a satisfying end to their final regular season. "I stayed out there as long as I could, just soaking the moment in," said Hutchings. "Now that we won and we did our job, I had time to really relax and take it all in and know that I won't be coming back here for awhile." USC's draft-eligible juniors, namely JuJu Smith-Schuster and Jackson, were serenaded by chants of "one more year" from the crowd as the Trojan Family hopes that they have also not seen the last of that dynamic duo padded up in the Coliseum. 

Waiting Game

USC went undefeated in October and November to close the season on an eight-game winning streak, but the sins of September ultimately doomed the Trojans. Utah was unable to beat Colorado, making the Buffaloes the Pac-12 South champions. While USC beat both teams in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the Trojans will be relegated to spectators on Friday night. "We know we have at least one more game. We've got a bowl game," said Banner. USC will find out its postseason destination on Sunday, December 4.

Here are the highlights from USC's final home game of 2016:

Trojans Beat The Irish on Senior Day

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Trojans Beat the Irish on Senior Day

Trojans Top Mustangs to Stay Undefeated

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Trojans Top Mustangs to Stay Undefeated

2016 Game 12: USC vs. Notre Dame

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-7) at No. 12 USC Trojans (8-3)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 12:30 p.m. PT on ABC and WatchESPN

635869225441167708-kizer.jpegIrish to Watch: Junior QB DeShone Kizer

While the Fighting Irish have had a dreadful season, Kizer has kept them in every game. He is a big time talent who could be a star at the next level. Kizer has thrown 24 TDs to only 8 INTs, averaging 246 yards per game. He is also ND's second-leading rusher, accounting for 509 yards and 7 TDs on the ground. The matchup between Kizer and Sam Darnold will be one to watch over the next two seasons.

Click here for more on the Fighting Irish.

3 Keys

No Luck

While Notre Dame is 4-7, the Fighting Irish have lost all seven games by eight points or less. They obviously have been deficient in closing games, but the Trojans will not want to rely on that curse to continue. Two years ago, Notre Dame dragged itself to Los Angeles at the end of a trying campaign, and USC jumped on the Irish early and they went away. The Trojans would be wise to employ the same strategy because Brian Kelly's team would love nothing more than to spoil its rival's season if USC lets Notre Dame hang around.

For the Old Guys

For 14 USC seniors, Saturday's run out of the Coliseum tunnel will be their last in the Cardinal and Gold. Given everything that many of them have been through, they deserve to go out on top. "It's kind of funny that I say this finally in my senior year, this is what I came to USC for," said senior RB Justin Davis about finishing his career on a winning streak. "Being a part of this as my senior year, I could not ask for anything more." While even brighter days are ahead for this program, the seniors deserve one more day to savor the sun.

The Task at Hand

The Trojans have been in "playoff mode" for the last two months, battling back in the Pac-12 to put themselves in position to win the South if Utah beats Colorado on Saturday. The Notre Dame result will have no bearing on USC's hopes to win the division, so the Trojans are faced with a mental test of focusing on the game in front of them. It should help that the Irish are arguably USC's greatest rival and nearly every contributor on this team tasted defeat last year in South Bend. The Trojans have displayed excellent mental toughness during this seven-game winning streak, but they need to dip into that well one more time.

Notre Dame Thursday: Notes

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The Trojans enjoyed an hour long practice on Thanksgiving morning before heading to a local church to serve dinner.
  • USC is as healthy as can be expected after three months of football. Head coach Clay Helton expects CB Jonathan Lockett and DL Josh Fatu to return to action this week.
  • Here is Helton's final press conference of the week on giving thanks, his ideal Thanksgiving meal and more:

Notre Dame Wednesday: Notes

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The Trojans will practice on Thanksgiving morning before dispersing to be with family and friends for the holiday feast.
  • USC is getting healthier at just the right time. Head coach Clay Helton said that WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, DL Stevie Tu'ikolovatu and DL Josh Fatu were all back at practice.
  • USC_Football_Washington_McGillen_11122016_1890.jpgUSC's seniors will be honored on Saturday before the game. Helton is extremely appreciative of this veteran group which has experienced a ton of adversity over the last four years. "This class has been the ultimate in battle-tested," said Helton. "They've done a terrific job through the high times and the lows and stayed even keeled. And now they have a chance to do something really special down the stretch here."
  • While DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu is a senior, he's only been at USC for one year, so he does not expect to be quite as emotional as some of his teammates. But, he has had his eye on this opponent for a while. "I am just excited to play against Notre Dame," said the Utah grad transfer. "I have never played against them before. They have the reputation of having good offensive linemen. I'm excited for the challenge."
  • After the game, all Trojan eyes will be on Utah and Colorado as USC's Pac-12 South fate hangs in the balance. "They said they were going to take care of Colorado for us," reported Tu'ikolovatu, who spoke to his former teammates on Sunday. "I think they'll do a good job against Colorado and get us in a position that we need to be in. Everybody here in LA will be happy."
  • While the Trojans want another shot at the Pac-12 Championship Game, they know that they have to focus on the task at hand first, which is beating Notre Dame. "We've just got to play like we have everything to lose because we do have everything to lose and they don't have anything to lose," Tu'ikolovatu said. "We can't let them come in and ruin our season."
  • Over this improbable seven-game winning streak, USC has bonded together when outsiders were suggesting that the Trojans would break apart. "This month of November, we're playing as together as a team probably since I've been here," said Helton, who is in his seventh year coaching at USC. "It just feels like all three phases are playing together extremely well and leaning on each other."
  • While the stars have aligned for the Trojans over a perfect October and so far immaculate November, Helton's word of the week is "finish."
  • Here is Helton on a cold and windy night in Los Angeles:

#FightOnForever: Jack Beckner

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Three-time Olympic gymnast John "Jack" Beckner, who won three NCAA individual titles at USC and then coached the Trojan men to their only NCAA team title, died on Nov. 16 at the age of 86.

Click here for the complete obituary.

A transfer from Los Angeles City College (where he won the 1950 national junior college all-around and parallel bars titles), he captured the NCAA all-around championship as a USC senior in 1952, as well as the parallel bars title in both 1951 and 1952. He received both a bachelor's and master's degree from USC.

He was the first Trojan (along with Charlie Simms) to land a berth on the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. He participated in 3 Olympics (1952, 1956 and 1960), helping the U.S. to Top 8 finishes each year (including fifth in 1960 and sixth in 1956). He was seventh in the 1956 Olympics horizontal bars and vault events.

Beckner, John (from yearbook).jpg

Meet Chris Tilbey

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USC_Football_2016_ASU_McGillen_d500_1612.jpgName: Chris Tilbey

Position: Punter

Class: RS Sophomore

Size: 6-foot-5, 205 lbs.

Age: 22

Last College: San Francisco CC

Game: With a background in Australian rules football, a sport in which the most efficient way to move the ball is an accurate punt-like kick to a teammate, Tilbey has excelled at directional punting this season. His ability to pin the ball inside the 20 has extinguished USC opponents' hopes at returning punts. USC is tied for second in the nation with only 4 punt return plays allowed and sixth in the nation with a total of 18 punt return yards allowed all year.

Prep Career: As a freshman at San Francisco City College in 2014, Tilbey played punter and tight end. He averaged 39.4 yards on 54 punts, with 19 pinning opponents inside the 20-yard line, 9 being fair caught and 3 going for touchbacks. In high school, he played Australian rules football, basketball and cricket.

Clay Helton on Tilbey: "We've got one of the better punters in our league right now that can place the ball with Chris Tilbey."

Fun Fact: Tilbey is the only Trojan football letterman ever born in Australia.

Here is Tilbey on the path that led him to USC, special teams coach John Baxter and how he's come to love the Trojan Family:

New Compliance Head

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USC vice president for athletic compliance Dave Roberts is stepping down after more than six years in his current position, and he will be replaced by Michael Blanton, USC president Max Nikias announced. Roberts (pictured) will continue on as a special advisor to the president's office for two years.

Blanton comes to USC after 20 years of practicing law, including as a partner in the law firm of Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP the last five years. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from USC back in 1997.

Blanton reports directly to Dickey, the senior vice president for administration, and will be responsible for managing all aspects of USC's compliance program. He will work closely with athletic director Lynn Swann, the Pac-12 and the NCAA to continue USC's "culture of compliance" which was exemplary under Roberts' leadership.


Livin' the Dream

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When Nick Young was at USC, he would constantly watch Kobe Bryant tapes before games to prepare. Now, he is the one hitting game-winning shots for the Lakers.

So swaggy!!! @swaggyp1 gets it done in the clutch for the @lakers. #USCtotheNBA

A video posted by USC Men's Basketball (@uschoops) on