LOS ANGELES – Notre Dame took a 16-10 lead over USC into halftime thanks to Kyle Brindza’s leg and a key interception late by KeiVarae Russell.
Brindza kicked field goals of 27, 29 and 52 yards, and Russell intercepted a pass with 1:25 to play in the half after the Irish were forced to punt for the first time Saturday night.
USC quarterback Max Wittek found his groove after his first three passes fell incomplete.
The redshirt freshman hit all five of his passes on the Trojans’ second offensive series that ended with Wittek connecting with Robert Woods for an 11-yard touchdown five seconds into the second quarter.
Woods’ TD catch cut the Irish lead to 10-7 with 14:55 left in the first half.
Notre Dame responded with a 67-yard drive that chewed up 5:31 of the clock, but it ended with Brindza kicking a 29-yard field goal.
It was the second field goal from Brindza and bumped Notre Dame’s lead to 13-7 with 9:19 to play in the first half.
USC kicker Andre Heidari answered with a 39-yard field goal to cut the Irish lead to 13-10 with 3:50 left in the first half.
Notre Dame than had to punt, but Wittek gave the ball right back when he tried to go deep to Marqise Lee and instead had the ball taken away by Russell at the Irish 17-yard line.
The Irish got to the Trojans’ 37 with a second left and went into halftime on Brindza’s 52-yard field goal.
Notre Dame outgained USC 277-128 in the first half, and the Irish hold a 19:49-10:11 advantage in time of possession.
Everett Golson has thrown for 181 yards, and Theo Riddick is paving the way on offense with 67 rushing yards and 33 receiving yards.
Wittek is 7 for 11 for 64 yards with a touchdown and an interception.