Saturday, October 19, 2013

Defense Dominates While Andrew Hendrix Shows Why He is Not The Starter As Notre Dame Ends Home Drought Against USC

For the first time since 2002 Notre Dame defeated USC at home. The Irish have now won 3 of the last 4 against USC and have retaken control of this rivalry after losing 8 straight to the Trojans. But the win did not come easily or without cost.

The game started with Notre Dame taking the ball all the way to the one before USC put up a goal line stand. The Trojans then took it all the way down for a Silas Redd touchdown. Redd had a big first half with 91 yards. But the Irish defense did get it together and only gave up a field goal the rest of the first half.

The Irish offense was great in the first half. Tommy Rees threw for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. One was to Troy Niklas and the other was to TJ Jones. These plays were set up by great running from Cam McDaniel who had 85 yards in the first half.

At the half, the Irish were up 14-10 and appeared to be on their way to an easy victory as USC was clearly wearing out and star receiver Marqise Lee reinjured his knee. Then on the first drive in the second half, Emerging linebacker Jaylon Smith intercepted USC quarterback Cody Kessler on the first drive. That set up the Irish in great field position and with a chance to take control of the game. But USC linebacker Lamar Dawson busted through untouched and knocked Rees out of the game.

Then came in seldom used junior quarterback Andrew Hendrix. To be blunt, he was awful. He did not complete a pass in 4 attempts and USC totally committed everybody to stopping the run since the pass was no threat.

But fortunately, the defense was awesome in the second half. Kessler was under pressure all night. Leading the way was Louis Nix, Stephon Tuitt, Sheldon Day, Prince Shembo, and Ishaq Williams. These guys put so much pressure on Kessler and forced the USC linemen to hold on many occasions.

There was no scoring for either team in the second half so the Irish held on for the win.Going forward though, we have to be concerned if Rees cannot come back. We might beat Air Force and Navy, but I am not sure we can beat anybody else if we have to go forward with Hendrix.

As for Lee, I want to reiterate a point on whether or not it is in his best interests to keep playing for this average USC team. He has such a great future ahead of him in the NFL. He really should consider shutting it down this year to preserve that.

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