Grades: USC-Notre Dame


A solid game from Matt Barkley, including a picture-perfect pass to Robert Woods in the fourth quarter that sealed the game. Marqise Lee didn't get targeted much, but rebounded to have a much better game, making last week's Cal performance look like an aberration.


Marc Tyler and Curtis McNeal proved to be an exceptional tandem in the backfield for the Trojans, combining for more than 175 yards despite both leaving the game with injuries at various points. George Farmer had one nice run but didn't get any other chances.


Barkley was pressured quite a bit by the Notre Dame defensive line. And USC's D-line continued to fail to produce consistent pressure. Dayne Crist's big third-quarter fumble was mostly his mistake and had little to do with push from the four up front.


Sure, they produced three turnovers, but two of them were gifts, really. The defense did take advantage, though, and it has to get credit for that. And the Trojans pretty much stopped Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray cold, except for one solitary long run by Gray.


This might not even have been a game if the Trojans didn't give up the 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to George Atkinson III in the third quarter. Andre Heidari missed his second field goal of the season, but he was clearly hurt.


Lane Kiffin's team was as well prepared for this game as it has been for any in his tenure. The Trojans simply knew what to expect from the Irish, like when running quarterback Andrew Hendrix came in the game and USC keyed in on him out of the backfield.