Title: Notre Dame Defeats USC 48-20, Extends Home Win Streak to Six
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – In a dominant performance, the No. 21 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team defeated the No. 10 USC Trojans 48-20 on Saturday, extending their home win streak to six games. The victory keeps Notre Dame’s hopes alive for a 10-win regular season.
Highlighted Plays and Standout Performances
The game saw multiple turnovers and a spectacular 99-yard kickoff return touchdown by Notre Dame’s Jadarian Price in the fourth quarter. The Irish received two game balls, one for outstanding defensive play and another for an offensive position group, as awarded by Inside ND Sports.
Defense Excels with Xavier Watts at the Helm
Notre Dame’s defense shone throughout the game, with safety Xavier Watts making a significant impact. Watts intercepted USC quarterback Caleb Williams twice in the first half, including on the opening drive. He also scored a 14-yard fumble return touchdown to seal the victory with 3:27 remaining in the game. Watts finished the game with seven tackles, two interceptions (with 61 return yards), one pass breakup, and a forced fumble. The defensive efforts were further supported by defensive tackles Howard Cross III and Gabriel Rubio and linebacker Jaylen Sneed, who contributed with pass deflections. Cornerback Benjamin Morrison intercepted Williams, resulting in the Trojans quarterback’s first three-interception game of his career.
Offensive Line Bounces Back After Previous Struggles
Following a disappointing performance against Louisville, where the offensive line allowed five sacks and three quarterback hurries, the Irish offensive line redeemed themselves against USC. The starting five showed resilience by committing zero penalties and providing excellent protection for quarterback Sam Hartman. The Trojans’ defense failed to record a single sack or quarterback pressure, allowing Hartman more time to distribute the ball to eight different receivers. Wide receiver Chris Tyree stood out with a game-high 62 receiving yards and one touchdown. The offensive line’s improved performance set the tone and allowed for a strong ground game, with running back Audric Estimé amassing 95 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Post-Game Reactions and Future Prospects
Notre Dame’s convincing win against the Trojans has kept their hopes alive for a 10-win regular season. Head coach Brian Kelly praised the team’s overall performance, highlighting the contributions of Watts and the offensive line. “Our defense played outstanding,” said Kelly. “Xavier Watts was outstanding, and I think really controlled the back end. We became more physical up front offensively.” Kelly also emphasized the importance of maintaining consistency in the remaining games of the season.
Looking ahead, the Fighting Irish will face tough challenges, including matchups against North Carolina, Navy, and Virginia. The team will need to maintain their winning momentum and further improve their performance to secure a successful season.
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