Notre Dame/USC: Bitter Rivals to the End


At times, it is hard to describe the hatred Irish fans have for the USC Trojans. With the game still more than a week away, my good buddy Steve Ronda tries his best to put the description down in words.

By Steve Ronda

Pittsburgh, Boston College, Navy, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue are just some of the teams Notre Dame faces on a yearly basis. These are just some of Notre Dame’s rivals.

For me though, when it comes to the Irish biggest rival, it becomes simple. U-S-C.

Sure I can’t stand a team like Michigan, with that maize and blue. The “Big House” and that annoying fight song, but something about The Southern California Trojans really grinds my gears.

Their mix of Red and Gold, “Fight On”, Matt Leinart, Pat Haden (I never understood why he was a Notre Dame broadcaster) Pete Carroll and of course, my all-time favorite USC villain, Reggie Bush. I still remember the “Bush Push” as if it were yesterday.

USC vs Notre Dame is no ordinary matchup. For “Irish Eyes” the USC game is circled on the calender every year. There’s a little more mojo there for that day and there’s a little more fuel to the fire.

It all started Dec. 4, 1926 in Los Angeles, when the Irish defeated the Trojans 13-12. Since then, the two teams have battled 81 more times with the record being in Notre Dame’s favor 43-33-5. The 2005 Bush Push victory for USC was vacated.

On Saturday Oct. 22, the two teams take the field once again in South Bend, Indiana where the Irish have the record of 23-12-1 against the Trojans.

Last season they faced off in Los Angeles and the Irish finally broke their losing streak against USC with a 20-16 victory, breaking the seven-game losing streak they had against them.

Rain was coming down and both teams weren’t at full strength, but it was a gritty tough game till the end when Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith picked off quarterback Mitch Mustain to help seal the deal. Notre Dame turned the ball over four times in the game and despite USC only having one turnover the whole game, it was the one that made the difference.

Now Irish head coach Brian Kelly looks to go 2-0 vs Lane Kiffin’s Trojans.

Notre Dame will go into the game 4-2 as they are on a bye week while the USC Trojans are currently 5-1 after coming up with an impressive victory over the Cal Bears on Thursday night.

It will be a special day in South Bend, not only because the Trojans are coming to town, and not only because Notre Dame will once again have a sold out stadium, but because for the first time in twenty-one years the Irish will be hosting a night game.

The last home night game was in 1990 when the Irish defeated Michigan 28-24. What more could you ask for? It’s as big as it gets.

There should be no need for “extra” motivation next Saturday night. This Irish fan is hoping for no “Fight On” but that his and all of the Irish Eyes will be smiling.

When the Irish come out of the tunnel with their gold helmets shining, sold out crowd roaring, under the lights, every player should be ready for the task at hand.

Beat SC. Beat SC. Beat SC.

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