Notre Dame loses final regular season game 38-27 to Caleb Williams and the USC Trojans (short thoughts)

Well that game Saturday definitely didn’t go the way I had hoped. The Trojan run game was absolutely gouging the Irish defense and left little doubt in this one. The Fighting Irish’s highly touted offensive line and defensive lines both got outclassed. The Irish took the field against the Trojans and just didn’t bring near their best game in this one.

The Notre Dame offense was unable to get any coordinated rhythm going, especially in that first half. The USC Trojan defense has allowed some truly abhorrent performances while their offense has bailed them out this season. Notre Dame allowed the lesser talented USC defense to dictate the terms of the game throughout.

The regularly swarming defensive line for the Irish were outmatched. The Irish defense looked to put the pressure with an additional linebacker on the field, unfortunately it just worked to no avail. It looked like the Notre Dame defense looked to overthink the opponent instead of just playing their smash mouth brand of football that got them back to playing good quality ball. The defense looked to switch it up far too drastically, and the finely tuned Trojan offense was able to fully exploit it.

Caleb Williams looked incredible against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense. 3 rushing touchdowns and 1 passing touchdown. 18 for 22 passing for 232 yards. Just a Heisman performance by a top talent in the country.

Austin Jones was able to dictate the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Jones was able to gouge the Notre Dame defense for 6.2 yards a carry. He was the Trojan’s premier weapon amassing 154 yards on 25 carries.

While it was a frustrating loss (very few aren’t frustrating), credit to Drew Pyne. He had a very good outing and played well in this one. 23 completions on 26 attempts for 318 yards and 3 TDs. While the Notre Dame loss was disheartening and the Trojans offense truly looked incredible, good to see Drew Pyne perform valiantly in the most ruckus environment Notre Dame has faced all season. Good for him to have a strong showing heading into our bowl game. Yes, a few heartbreaking turnovers, but Drew Pyne has delivered far more for the Irish fans than they had expected him to have to this season. The young man’s season is to be commended.

The USC Trojans were playing for everything and took it to the Fighting Irish with the fervor you would expect from a title contender. While the Irish were looking to find and establish their own game in this one, the Trojans played the brand of highly explosive offensive football that has them in the hunt for the CFP championship.

The environment in USC was insane. I haven’t seen an LA football fanbase like that in quite sometime. Both of these teams are playing high level college football (them currently just a little higher), this rivalry having national implications is great for the program. This game being back to meaning something gets eyes on the programs. There was no beating USC that day, in that arena. I have to think they are fully capable of winning the title this season. Only problem for them, is TCU. They are needing the Kansas State victory to get the Horned Frogs out of their spot, if 2 big ten teams are allowed in. But with how bad Ohio State looked, I could see them being out entirely in favor of the Trojans.

Here the Irish sit at the end of their regular season with the record of 8-4. Bryan Driskell with Irish Breakdown has speculated that the Irish are possibly facing a TaxSlayer Gator Bowl game against a SEC opponent. So Notre Dame still has some meaningful football to play. While I wouldn’t expect Michael Mayer or any of our other top draft talent to play much, still awesome to get to play some top competition again to end the season.

While this season can be taken in many different ways by the fans, I choose to look back and think of Marcus season’s first season in South Bend a foundational building block of this program looking forward. Marcus Freeman has tons to learn from this season, there are tons of things to address, but if they are addressed Notre Dame can be right back to playing the top caliber ball that this fanbase expects. Marcus Freeman needs to find a transfer QB, no way around that. The inability to deliver consistent arms to South Bend is an anomaly that I will never be able to get my head around. Bringing CFP births to South Bend will take getting Championship caliber talent at the QB position. This must be a top offseason priority of Freeman and company.

Thanks for taking the time to read my short thoughts. Just a fan who likes to share my posts here from time to time. Thanks Burke for letting me post, you can read anything else I’m writing on the ND tab above!

Play like an absolute champ,

-Big Red

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