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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC Loses to No. 1 Notre Dame, Irish to BCS Championship

USC lost to No. 1 Notre Dame 13-22 in the last regular-season game for the Trojans. 

The team from South Central just couldn't stop the team from South Bend from going to South Beach.

USC lost 13-22 to No. 1 Notre Dame Saturday at the Coliseum, extending the Fighting Irish record to 12-0 and securing them a spot in the BCS National Championship. The Trojans hung in there with the Irish, keeping it close at a one score game, but after four consecutive tries on the one-yard line, USC just couldn't score when they needed it most.

For the second time in four years, Matt Barkley's name was not called in the starting lineup for the Trojans. Instead, red shirt freshman Max Wittek led the Trojans, making his first career start in front of 90,000 fans at the Coliseum on national television. 

Wittek threw for 186 yards with two interceptions, while his predecessor--both in high school and in college--Barkley watched from the sidelines. 

Although Barkley wasn't able to run through the tunnel with the rest of his team on Senior Day, No. 7 was welcomed into the Coliseum with a standing ovation. Barkley will leave USC having only faced Notre Dame in South Bend, due to injuries sidelining him both times at the Coliseum.

Rounding out the rest of the Trojans' front seven, Robert Woods caught seven receptions for 92 yards, Silas Redd has twelve carries for 77 yards and Marqise Lee had five receptions for 75 yards, breaking teammate Woods' record for most receptions in a single season for the Pac-12.

Leading the Irish was sophomore quarterback Evertt Golson, who completed 15 of 26 passes for 217 yards. Theo Riddick lead the Irish with 146 rushing yards and a touchdown, but the player who saw most of the action was Notre Dame's kicker, Kyle Brindza. Brindza kicked five field goals for the Irish, helping to secure their ticket to Miami. 

You can look at the numbers all you want, but the most intresting statistic comes from Notre Dame's head coach Brian Kelly. Kelly's predecessors include some of football's biggest names like Ara Parseghian, Frank Leahy, Lou Holtz and Dan Devine. All of these Notre Dame coaches won national championships in their third year. And how long has Kelly been in South Bend? Three years. The Irish will most likely take on No. 2 Alabama or No. 3 Georgia in the BCS title game on Dec. 7. 

And for the Trojans, it looks like they will still be playing in a bowl, given a lesser bowl than their preseason No. 1 ranking alluded to, but after two years under sanctions, a bowl is still a bowl. 

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