Justin Dedich wandered alone within the aftermath, cameras capturing as Irish followers flooded the sector and USC’s sixth-year senior middle weaved his approach between them towards the tunnel one final time. Dedich had come to Notre Dame Stadium thrice now in his USC tenure, and every successive journey to South Bend had left the Trojans devastated and defeated.
This closing journey had perhaps been essentially the most disappointing of all of them, a 48-20 drubbing by Notre Dame that spoiled USC’s undefeated — but undeniably flawed — 6-0 begin. This time, USC had come into South Bend with the nation’s high offense at its disposal, solely to squander that scoring energy amid a full-on assault of the pocket, its star quarterback pressured to run for his life.
When the mud settled Saturday evening, Caleb Williams had been sacked six occasions, his most this season, and thrown three interceptions, his most since taking part in school soccer. However even these dismal numbers didn’t inform the entire story of how USC’s offense unraveled.
“We sort of simply took our turns making errors, and that’s what it seems to be like,” USC coach Lincoln Riley stated. “A few occasions in move professional once more, we bought beat in one-on-one conditions that now we have to win and so, I imply, pay attention, everybody takes possession in it. And that’s simply a part of it. There wasn’t one constructive group offensively that was ok tonight.”
The play of USC’s offensive entrance was significantly troubling given what it was up in opposition to. Notre Dame’s move rush entered the sport as one among its most obtrusive weaknesses. The Irish ranked one hundred and tenth in sacks per sport coming into Saturday, a piddling common of 1.57 sacks per sport. Their six sacks in opposition to USC had been greater than Notre Dame’s mixed whole from the earlier three video games.
Every of these six appeared to suck the momentum straight out of USC’s offense. When the Trojans lastly bought rolling late within the third quarter, inching nearer to creating it a sport, Notre Dame linebacker Marist Liufau burst previous proper guard Jarrett Kingston and into the backfield, reaching Williams untouched for a sack. On the very subsequent play, left guard Emmanuel Pregnon was thrown down with ease by a Notre Dame defender, and Williams was mobbed once more.
Offensive line coach Josh Henson admitted this week that USC’s entrance was “a piece in progress.” However it was exhausting to see a lot progress Saturday amid the fixed waves of Irish stress.
The final wave got here late within the fourth quarter, with solely satisfaction left for USC to save lots of. It was fourth-and-9 with lower than 5 minutes remaining. As quickly as Williams snapped the ball, chaos broke out within the backfield. He barely had an opportunity to scan the sector earlier than he was wrapped up. As whistles blew, Williams halfheartedly threw the ball to the bottom.
Dedich, within the middle of all of it, did all he may do at that time. He put his palms on his hips and headed for the sideline.