Before last night's Notre Dame-USC contest, a guy at Professor Thom's bar asked me who I liked in the game, especially against the 8 1/2 point spread that favored USC. I told him to take the Fighting Irish, "because there's no way USC would cover that many points."
Notre Dame got their heads handed to them, their asses kicked, whichever adjectives you'd like to use. It just wasn't pretty as USC rolled to a convincing 44-24 rout of Notre Dame at the LA Coliseum last night.
Any chance the Irish had of a national championship (it was a small one to begin with) was gone early as USC jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Notre Dame went for it on fourth down and two at the USC 30 and didn't make it, and that seemed to signal that trouble was ahead.
Brady Quinn threw three TDs, but clearly wasn't on his game, and appeared to be hurting through a good part of the second half. John David Booty threw 4 TDs and marched USC to three early TDs, and the Trojans led 21-10 at halftime.
USC added another TD to start the third quarter, and it was all downhill for the Irish. With the score 37-24 and just over three minutes left, USC took an Irish onsides kick and returned it for a touchdown, just to pour some more salt into their wounds.
Notre Dame was a Jekyll-and-Hyde team all night, looking pretty good on defense in the second quarter to try and get back into the game, but looked terribly pourous the other three quarters. USC ate them alive through the air, exposing the most glaring Irish weakness, and walked into a rather easy victory.
For USC, they need a win over UCLA in their finale next Saturday to get into the BCS national title game against Ohio State. If they lose, a Michigan-OSU rematch could be in the cards. For Notre Dame, their regular season is now complete, and they will wait until next Sunday to see who they will play in which bowl game, as that is when the BCS bowl announcements will be made.