Closing the Book: Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 22: Nickell Robey #21 of the University of Southern California Trojans is lifted into the air by Dion Bailey #18 after intercepting a pass against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USC defeated Notre Dame 31-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

I thought about this a lot this morning as I out and about but there really isn't much to say.

I think it is safe to say that this was beat down. It was in THEIR house...with their pretty Golden Domes upon their heads. ND was was beat in the trenches. Floyd was neutralized and the Irish imploded.

On a chilly night at Notre Dame Stadium Saturday, the Trojans shook down their own thunder and woke up their own echoes. Matt Barkley didn't just throw spirals, he threw elbows. Robert Woods didn't just flit, he flew. The Trojan defense didn't just endure an atmosphere of thumping music and fist-pumping fans, they pulled out a newfound resilience and shut it down.

There is nothing to (over) analyze.

Here are some numbers...

Matt Barkley passes for 224 yards and three TDs, Curtis McNeal runs for 118 yards, Robert Woods catches 12 passes, two for TDs.

That is some pretty solid production!

Here is how Moura graded them out.

Ripsit has their 6-points.

Lane Kiffin called a pretty good game and got what I consider his first signature win at USC.

The way some players saw it, USC didn't merely defeat Notre Dame on Saturday night; the Trojans took the fight out of the Fighting Irish. As the clock wound down in front of a packed house at Notre Dame Stadium, with USC about to put the finishing touches on a 31-17 upset victory, Irish coach Brian Kelly declined to call any timeouts. In a sea of Notre Dame navy, gold and green, the Trojans viewed that as a white flag.

Some of the players called out Notre Dame. I let you decide if its appropriate...but based on some of the comments that TWO ND players insinuated in this video (at the 9:30 mark), I will simply say turnabout is fair play...

Barkley and Woods did their thing.

Barkley got back on track living up to his expectations.

Perhaps Barkley's accomplishments are obscured by the "dark cloud" hanging over USC. That was Lane Kiffin's description for what he perceives as a negative attitude toward his program. The Trojans are, after all, on NCAA probation. Despite a 5-1 record, they aren't ranked.

Some of the questions from the media after USC's game against Cal last week perturbed Kiffin, who had just coached his team to a 21-point road victory over a Pac-12 rival. Of course, many of them were about Barkley.

Anyone else here Mike Mayock continually praise Barkley last night? It was driving the Irish fans nuts on their boards.

The defense, led by my player of the game Nickell Robey, did what Monte expected them to do (even if the soft coverage continues to drive me to drink)

Defensive back Nickell Robey is only 5 feet 8, but he played a huge role for the Trojans Saturday by neutralizing Michael Floyd, Notre Dame's star receiver, in a 31-17 USC victory.

Floyd, 6-3 and 224 pounds, managed only four catches for 28 yards. Last season, when the Fighting Irish defeated USC at the Coliseum, he had 11 receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown. He entered the game with 53 catches and averaging 106.5 yards receiving per game.

Yeah, I would call that dominant. Robey continues to be a spark for this team. How can you not love him!

he O-line played exceptionally well.

Special teams had their issues, but even an injured Andre Heidari stepped up.

Not only did George Atkinson III's runback give the Fighting Irish much-needed momentum, it also sent Trojans kicker Andre Heidari to the sideline with a sprained right ankle.

Heidari fell while trying to tackle Atkinson. Heidari said a Notre Dame player then stepped on his ankle.

Heidari got the ankle taped and received a painkilling injection. But the freshman barely cleared the crossbar on an extra-point attempt late in the third quarter and badly missed a field-goal attempt early in the fourth in USC's 31-17 victory.

Everyone steeped up last night!

And the running game? Well, last night is what we have been wanted to see from our running backs all season.

Eleven runs in their first 12 offensive plays, leading to a touchdown.

Ten runs in their final 10 offensive plays, all featuring a miniature boulder named Curtis McNeal, with the game ending on Notre Dame's four-yard-line, no kneel, no field goal, no further doubt.

"That's kind of your dream as an offensive lineman," center Khaled Holmes said. "To leave the game on the field like that."

I was stunned at how USC was able to gash the yards they getting. It seemed that almost every running play was going for significant yardage.

I know I have been a bit down on some of the performances this season but not today. I really can't complain. This team is 6-1 and they should make the polls this week.

Kiffin is finding a way win to win.

He has really integrated the young players effectively. it hasn't been perfect and his game management, at times, has been frustrating.

Kiffin is growing as a coach, but he still has a long way to go.

His next big challenge is next Saturday when Stanford comes to town.

Game Day will be there as well. They see this as a big deal.

So, as you can see, I have sprinkled a fair amount links up here and will post some videos a little later.

This was a great win...I am going to enjoy it this week, even in the face of next weeks game against The Farm.

FIGHT ON!

- - -

From the ND view of things...

Notre Dame football: This time, USC's ready for run - southbendtribune.com
SOUTH BEND - Cierre Wood can parrot the company line for only so long, then his heart overtakes the script and the Notre Dame junior running back’s soul comes pouring out.

Notre Dame football: Barkley's play kept Trojans in control - southbendtribune.com
SOUTH BEND - Barkley to Woods.

Notre Dame football: USC's muscle gets best of Irish - southbendtribune.com
SOUTH BEND - If there was a play that illustrated just how physical USC ’s offense played Saturday night, and there were plenty to choose from, it came early in the fourth quarter and the Trojans nursing a 24-17 lead.

Notre Dame football: ND has some growing to do - southbendtribune.com
SOUTH BEND - It wasn't that long ago when it seemed that Notre Dame 's penchant for mistakes and bonehead plays was a thing of the past.

Notre Dame-USC: Notre Dame mistakes, early USC lead too much to overcome - chicagotribune.com
Irish fumble on cusp of tying the game is crucial in crushing 31-17 loss to USC

I checked the usual Doh!mer blogs...Her Loyal Sons, Subway Domer, One Foot Down, etc. but they haven't yet put a post game reaction up.

- - -

Here is the drive chart...

FULL SCREEN VERSION

Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.

More Later...

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