USC now faces more questions after their loss to rival Notre Dame.
The Trojans came into this game with a shot to throw a wrench into No. 3 Notre Dame’s playoff hopes and the beginning of the game it appeared to all go to plan. USC went down on their first drive by hitting the Irish defense with a lot of quick hits passes to Amon-Ra St. Brown and Michael Pittman Jr. The drive ended with a 14 yard touchdown rush by Vavae Malepeai. The Trojans had a 10-0 lead in the second quarter before Notre Dame scored a touchdown from an Ian Book to Chris Finkle 24 yard pass.
The second half was all Notre Dame as they added to a 24 unanswered run. Something that has hurt the Trojans all season long. It started off with Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams breaking off a 52 yard rush for a touchdown to give the Irish the lead for good. USC would break the scoring run late in the 4th quarter, however by that time it was too little too late. For Notre Dame, the team completed their first undefeated regular season since 2012 and are well on their way to play in the College Football Playoffs.
Costly mistakes and poor execution did the Trojans in as they failed to take advantage of opportunities to jump on the Irish. USC committed 8 penalties and had two turnovers that did more harm to them. The offense also was once again stagnant when it the team needed to move the ball and score the most. Freshman quarterback JT Daniels had an outstanding stat line throwing for over 349 yards a touchdown pass towards the end of the game. The freshman quarterback started off hot, however he cooled off during the 2nd half of the game.
Clay Helton said he saw Lynn Swann after the game, and he said Swann told him, “There’s going to be better days ahead."— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) November 25, 2018
With the loss USC falls to 5-7, giving them their first losing season since 2000. They will also fail to qualify for a bowl for the first time in 18 years. Questions will now turn towards the future of the Trojans football program under Clay Helton. Rumors has gone around in regards to Helton’s job security. Following the game Clay Helton was met with boos and chants of “Fire Helton” by USC fans and the student section at the L.A. Coliseum, however it is athletic director Lynn Swann that will have the ultimate say on if Helton will get another chance. USC has all off-season to figure things out for next season. Biggest question will be at the head coaching spot. Will Helton be back? the next few days will tell what happens next.