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Greatest games of the Notre Dame-USC rivarly
ABC Sports Online

Saturday's game will mark the 57th straight year and 74th time that Notre Dame and USC will meet. The Irish have won the last three meetings and lead the series 42-26-5. Of the 73 times that they have met, one team has entered the matchup ranked first in the nation. Combined, they have won nine national championships over the last 40 years and 11 Heisman Trophies.

The winner of the game receives the shillelagh that was flown from Ireland by Howard Hughes' pilot, according to legend. Emerald-studded shamrocks represent Notre Dame victories, while ruby-adorned Trojan heads stand for USC wins on the shillelagh.

Here is a look back at some of the greatest moments in the series' history, a series that has been decided in the final two minutes 10 times.

Nov. 21, 1931
USC 16, Notre Dame 14
Notre Dame Stadium

USC won its first-ever game in South Bend when Johnny Baker kicked a 33-yard field goal with one minute remaining to end the Irish's 26-game unbeaten streak. USC scored all 16 of its points in the fourth quarter. Afterwards, USC coach Howard Jones took his team to the grave of Knute Rockne, who was killed the previous spring in a plane crash. Jones placed a wreath at the gravestone and the team observed a minute's silence.

Dec. 6, 1947
No. 1 Notre Dame 38, No. 3 USC
The Coliseum

In a game that would decide the national championship, the battle lasted for one half with the Irish holding a slim 10-7 lead. Emil Sitko broke the game opened with a 76 yard TD run to open the second half. Bob Livingstone followed with a 92 yard score. John Panelli added a touchdown, and it was all over for USC.

Dec. 4, 1948
No. 2 Notre Dame 14, USC 14
The Coliseum

The second-ranked Irish had their 21-game winning streak snapped in Los Angles, but were able to extend their unbeaten streak under Frank Leahy to 27 when Emil Sitko scored from one yard out with 35 seconds left. Steve Oracko's extra point sealed the 14-14 tie.

Nov. 28, 1964
USC 20, No. 1 Notre Dame 17
The Coliseum

The Irish headed to California as the top-ranked team in the country and built a 17-0 halftime lead, but left with a shocking last-minute defeat. Facing fourth-and-8 with 1:33 to go, Craig Fertig hit Rod Sherman with a 15-yard touchdown pass for the win.

Oct. 14, 1967
No. 1 USC 24, No. 5 Notre Dame 7
Notre Dame Stadium

In 1966, the Irish routed the Trojans 51-0 and despite USC's No. 1 ranking, the Irish were the favorite heading into the rematch in South Bend. USC hadn't won in South Bend in 28 years, but John McKay was intent that would end in 1967. It did, thanks to a breakout performance from O.J. Simpson. The junior tailback rushed for 160 yards on 38 carries and three second-half touchdowns. The Irish led 7-0 at the half, but were done under by seven interceptions (four by USC freshman Adrian Young) and two fumbles.

Nov. 30, 1968
No. 9 Notre Dame 21, No. 2 USC 21
The Coliseum

The Irish held eventual Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson to 33 first-half rushing yards as they took a 21-7 lead. But Simpson and Co. rallied back in the second half

Oct. 23, 1971
USC 28, No. 6 Notre Dame 14
Notre Dame Stadium

The game was interrupted for 20 minutes as everyone on the field got involved in an on-field fight. When the game resumed, the Trojans proceeded to upset the sixth-ranked Irish 28-14.

October 27, 1973
No. 8 Notre Dame 23, No. 6 USC 14
Notre Dame Stadium

Anthony Davis' six-touchdown afternoon in 1972 was in the minds of many Irish when they met again in 1973. On a rainy day in South Bend, the Irish held Davis to just 55 yards on 19 carries. It was Notre Dame's Eric Perrick who had the big day, as Perrick's 85-yard TD run early in the third quarter keyed the Irish's 23-14 upset of the Trojans, who entered the game on a 23-game unbeaten streak.

Nov. 30, 1974
No. 6 USC 55, No. 5 Notre Dame 24
The Coliseum

"The Comeback."

USC trailed 24-0 late in the first half against the nation's top-ranked defense. But with 10 seconds remaining before halftime, Anthony Davis scored on a 7-yard pass from Pat Haden. The two-point conversion failed, and the Trojans trailed 24-6 at the half. Davis took the opening kick of the second half 102 yards to open the floodgates for USC, which scored 35 points in the third quarter. Davis scored twice on short runs and Haden threw TD passes of 18 and 45 yards to Johnny McKay. Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Trojans scored twice more on a 16-yard pass from Haden to Shelton Diggs and a Charles Phillips' 58-yard interception return for a touchdown.

October 22, 1977
No. 11 Notre Dame 49, No. 5 USC 19
Notre Dame Stadium

"The Switch."

The Irish warmed up in their traditional blue jerseys. But before the start of the game, Devine handed out the school's treasured green jerseys for the first time in 14 years. Led by Joe Montana, who threw two TD passes and ran for two more, the Irish proceeded to rout the Trojans 49-19.

Nov. 25, 1978
No. 3 USC 27, No. 8 Notre Dame 25
The Coliseum

Joe Montana appeared to have lifted the Irish to a come-from-behind victory when he drove them back from a 24-6 deficit. His two-yard scoring pass to Pete Holohan gave Notre Dame its first lead at 25-24 lead with 46 seconds left. But USC drove 50 yards in four plays to set up Frank Jordan's 37-yard game-winning field goal with two seconds lift to lead the Trojans. Paul McDonald's 35-yard pass to Calvin Sweeney with 19 seconds left set up the winning kick.

Nov. 27, 1982
No. 17 USC 17, Notre Dame 13
The Coliseum

Michael Harper scored on a controversial winning 1-yard run with 48 seconds to go in John Robinson's final game in his first tenure at USC. The Irish players had thought Harper had fumbled before he crossed the goal line. Notre Dame had one final chance, but Blair Kiel's 32-yard desperation pass in the end zone was knocked down by safety Joey Browner as time ran out.

Nov. 29, 1986
Notre Dame 38, No. 17 USC 37
The Coliseum

Lou Holtz's first foray into the Notre Dame-USC rivalry was a successful one, as the Irish rallied back from a 20-9 halftime deficit. They trailed 30-12 early in the third quarter before Steve Beuerlein started hitting his stride. He hit Braxston Banks with a 22-yard TD pass, Milt Jackson for 43 yards and Banks for five yards to cut it to 37-35. Tim Brown's 56-yard punt return then put John Carney in position to cap the comeback with a 19-yard field goal with two seconds left.

Nov. 29, 1988
No. 1 Notre Dame 27, No. 2 USC 10
The Coliseum

In the only No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting in the series, Lou Holtz elected to leave two of his top players at home, tailback Tony Brooks and flanker Ricky Watters. The Irish responded with a win that propelled them to their first national title in 11 years. Tony Rice hit Raghib Ismail with a 55-yard TD strike to start the game. Rice then called his own number on an option play down the left sideline and sprinted 65 yards for the score. Stan Smagala's 64-yard interception return for a touchdown of a Rodney Peete pass put the game out of reach as Notre Dame took a 21-7 lead into halftime.

Nov. 30, 1996
USC 27, No. 10 Notre Dame 20
The Coliseum

The only overtime contest in series history. The Trojans forced overtime when Delon Washington scored on a 15-yard run with 1:50 remaining, and Washington tacked on the two-point conversion to tie it 20-20. In overtime, the Trojans had the ball first and scored on four plays, when Brad Otten found Rodney Sermons for a five-yard TD pass. Notre Dame started out with a six-yard pass play, but Autry Denson lost five yards on the next play. After an incomplete pass, USC linebacker Mark Cusano knocked down Ron Powlus' fourth-down pass to end the game. The win helped USC break its 13-game non-winning streak against the Irish.

Oct. 16, 1999
Notre Dame 25, USC 24
Notre Dame Stadium

Twenty-five years after USC staged The Comeback, Notre Dame got a little revenge of its own on its West Coast rivals with the biggest comeback in Notre Dame Stadium history. Trailing 24-3 in the third quarter, the luck of the Irish helped ND secure the win. No more was that evident than the game-winning score when tight end Jabari Holloway won the scrum for Jarious Jackson's fumble in the end zone with 2:40 remaining.  HELP |  ADVERTISER INFO |  CONTACT US |  TOOLS |  SITE MAP
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