Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 26, 2019*

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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28 OCT. 26, 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED receiver Chase Claypool before the fi- nal strike to Kmet on a crossing route for the score on a 97-yard march that gave the Irish the lead for good at 7-3. Book was able to build on his per- formance against Bowling Green — where he threw for five touchdowns in the first half — by staying in the pocket against USC and taking what the Trojans gave him. Many times, that meant using his legs to get a first down or even score a game-breaking touchdown. "They were bringing pressure off the edge, so just wanted to go take it up the middle, and the line did a good job of sorting it out," Book said. "It worked out perfectly. I saw the end zone, and I knew I had to get it in there, so it felt really good." IRISH DEFENSE BENDS, BUT DOESN'T BREAK In the first half, the Trojans' of- fense consistently drove the ball down the field, only to be forced to punt from within Irish territory on several occasions. In the first and second quarters, USC punted from Notre Dame's 42- yard line twice and from its 43 once. The Trojans also punted from the 50- yard line. This resulted in them scor- ing just three points in the entire half. "We had an opportunity in the first half to finish drives and we didn't do it," USC head coach Clay Helton noted after the game. That changed, however, when USC came out in the third quarter and put up 24 points over the final 30 min- utes of the game, scoring on all four of the team's second-half posses- sions. This included a 27-yard field goal and three touchdowns on drives of 66, 62, 75 and 77 yards. That's not to say the entire Notre Dame defense imploded in the second half. Players such as fifth-year senior linebacker Asmar Bilal, senior defen- sive end Khalid Kareem, junior rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and soph- omore cornerback TaRiq Bracy (who was largely responsible for holding big-play USC wide receiver Michael Pittman to 29 yards on four catches) and others performed well. Instead, the Irish gave up too many big plays. Of the Trojans 12 chunk plays, eight came in the second half, including six of the seven passing chunk plays. Ultimately, Notre Dame did enough in the first half to win by jumping out to a 17-3 lead and never looking back. The Irish sent USC home with a record of 3-3. "It's a team game, and as a team collectively — staff, players, every- body — we came up short today," Helton said. "It's our job over the next six weeks to make sure that doesn't happen so we can win a Pac- 12 title and be at home in the Rose Bowl." ✦ NOTRE DAME VS. USC QUARTER-BY-QUARTER COMPARISON Notre Dame 1st Qtr. 2nd Qtr. 3rd Qtr. 4th Qtr. 1st Half 2nd Half Total Time of Possession 6:04 6:44 9:25 9:11 12:48 18:36 31:24 Third-Down Conversions 1-4 2-3 4-6 2-4 3-7 6-10 9-17 Fourth-Down Conversions 0-0 0-0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0-1 Average Field Position ND-17 ND-22 ND-30 ND-37 ND-20 ND-33 ND-26 USC 1st Qtr. 2nd Qtr. 3rd Qtr. 4th Qtr. 1st Half 2nd Half Final Time of Possession 8:56 8:16 5:35 5:49 17:12 11:24 28:36 Third-Down Conversions 1-4 1-4 1-2 2-2 2-8 3-4 5-12 Fourth-Down Conversions 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 Average Field Position USC-31 USC-30 USC-31 USC-24 USC-30 USC-27 USC-29 PLAY CHART (NO. OF PLAYS) Yards ND USC Nega ve 10 6 0-5 40 33 6-9 12 17 10-19 15 11 20-29 1 2 30-39 0 1 40-49 1 0 50 or more 1 0 RED ZONE EFFICIENCY (INSIDE 20-YARD LINE) No Poss. TD FG Score Notre Dame 2 2 0 0 USC 4 2 2 0 BIG PLAYS (25 YARDS OR MORE) Notre Dame • 2-7 ND23 Book pass complete to Claypool for 26 yards to the ND49 • 1-10 ND27 T. Jones rush for 43 yards to the USC30 • 2-6 ND49 Lenzy rush for 51 yards and a touchdown USC • 1-10 ND38 Slovis pass complete to St. Brown for 38 yards and a touchdown • 3-1 USC34 Stepp rush for 25 yards to the ND41 Junior rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah — who notched his first career sack — and the Irish defense surrendered 426 total yards to the Trojans, but made enough plays to help secure the victory. PHOTO BY ANDRIS VISOCKIS

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