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No. 6 USC takes down No. 15 Notre Dame, improving CFP hopes heading into Pac 12 title game


The sixth-ranked USC Trojans already clinched a trip to the Pac 12 Championship, but in order to have any College Football Playoff hopes, they needed some help before their own game on Saturday.

They got it with No. 2 Ohio State’s huge loss to No. 3 Michigan certainly helps USC. They got even more assistance after No. 5 LSU lost on the road to a then-4-7 Texas A&M team.

Just in case that wasn’t enough, though, USC still did their job on Saturday night.

The Trojans defeated No. 15 Notre Dame, 38-27.

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Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans throws against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first half at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Their win, combined with OSU’s and LSU’s losses, make it very likely that USC gets a spot in the Top 4 of the next CFP rankings.

The first drive of the game finished with an 11-yard touchdown from Caleb Williams to Tahj Washington to give USC a 7-0 leaf. They scored a field goal on their next drive after forcing a three-and-out, and after they got up 10-0, the Irish turned the ball over on downs. On their next drive, they were able to cut into the Trojans’ lead with a 22-yard score by Michael Mayer, but USC answered right back with a rushing touchdown by Williams on their final drive before the half. The Trojans led 17-7 heading into the locker room.

In their first drive out of the half, Notre Dame lost a fumble at USC’s 26-yard line, and the Trojans answered right back with a seven-play drive, 74-yard drive that ended in a Raleek Brown score to give USC a 24-7 lead. The Irish came back with a touchdown of their own to make it a 10-point game, but USC marched down the field again, and at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Williams scored his second rushing touchdown of the night, and the Trojans were up 31-14.

Caleb Williams #13 and Lake McRee #87 of the USC Trojans celebrate a touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first half at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. 

Caleb Williams #13 and Lake McRee #87 of the USC Trojans celebrate a touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first half at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. 
(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Notre Dame did get back to within 10 points with a touchdown, but on their next drive, Drew Pyne threw an interception with just under five minutes to go. That essentially iced the game, but for good measure, Williams ran for his third touchdown, this one for 16 yards. The Irish added a touchdown, but it was too little too late.

Austin Jones didn’t find the end zone in the win, but he was still able to manage 154 yards on the ground on 25 carries, while nine Trojans recorded at least one reception.

Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans throws against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first half at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans throws against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first half at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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USC awaits its opponent for next Friday’s conference title game, which will be either Utah or Oregon – that will be decided based on the result of the Washington-Washington State game.

If the Huskies lose, the Ducks are in. If Washington wins, the Utes will face the Trojans.The Pac 12 title game will be held at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. ET.



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