There would be no last second loss or let down for the USC Trojans in the regular season finale. The Trojans took it to Notre Dame, breaking out an old fashioned whooping on their interstitial rivals.
USC scored 35 points in the first half en route to a 49-14 victory in the Los Angeles Coliseum Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Cody Kessler hit five receivers for touchdowns and found George Farmer for a pair of TDs to become the first person to ever throw for six scores against the Fighting Irish.
The Trojans used tempo to push a depleted Notre Dame defense, amassing 577 total yards, including 372 yards passing for Kessler. After an initial 50-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith was overturned on USC's first drive, the Trojans got on the board their next possession when Kessler hit Farmer for a 48-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline on a third-and-2.
It was Kessler to freshman Adoree' Jackson from 16 yards out and a 31-yard touchdown grab by Farmer on the next two USC drives to put the Trojans up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. But they didn't let up there. After redshirt senior Gerald Bowman intercepted an Everett Golson pass, Kessler hit Darreus Rogers for a 6-yard play-action score.
Nelson Agholor got into the action on the following USC drive, catching a ball over the middle, alluding three Notre Dame defenders and diving into the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown to give USC a 35-0 advantage. Golson was subsequently benched for Malik Zaire, who connected for a 49-yard pass to Chris Brown that set up an 11-yard touchdown run from Zaire.
Notre Dame missed a field goal just before halftime and the Trojans put the game officially out of reach with their first drive of the second half. Going 75 yards in 11 plays, USC scored once again when Kessler threw a dart to senior tight end Randall Telfer for a 9-yard touchdown despite there being triple coverage and Notre Dame being called for holding on Telfer.
Per usual, Agholor was Cody Kessler's top target catching 12 passes for 120 yards while Farmer finished with a career-high 85 yards and two touchdowns. Kessler hit nine different receivers. Buck Allen completed a perfect regular season of contributing more than 100 yards from scrimmage in every game by rushing for 93 yards on 19 carries and catching one pass for 17 yards.
Sophomore Justin Davis also had 19 carries, rushing for 81 yards and a touchdown. He capped the Trojans' scoring on their second drive of the second half with a nifty 16-yard run that saw him juke a pair of Irish defenders.
It was a strong finish for a USC team that had been beaten up all week after losing to crosstown rival UCLA. The Trojans' seniors had a particularly strong day in their final game at the Coliseum. Besides Randall Telfer's touchdown and Gerald Bowman's interception, J.R. Tavai doubled his season sack total with 3 1/2 takedowns and Hayes Pullard recovered anEverett Golson fumble. Walk-on quarterback Anthony Neyer even got in the game and got in the box score with two carries for five yards.
Both teams now await their bowl game fates, but USC goes in a strong note while Notre Dame limps into the postseason having lost four straight and five of six.