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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, October 21, 2017 9:40 pm

Halftime thoughts: Notre Dame 28, Southern California 0

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

SOUTH BEND — Everything that could go right for Notre Dame, did. Everything that could go wrong for Southern California, did.

It was that kind of a first half at Notre Dame Stadium. The 13th-ranked Irish (5-1) have been fueled by a rabid home crowd, and the No. 11 Trojans (6-1) have contributed to their own demise.

It began on USC's first offensive snap, which resulted in a bobbled exchange from center Nico Falah to quarterback Sam Darnold. He had the ball stripped by Te'von Coney, who recovered the fumble near midfield. Three plays later, Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush fired a 26-yard touchdown pass to Equanimeous St. Brown, who got open on a post route against Jack Jones.

A 23-yard TD pass from Wimbush to Kevin Stepherson extended the lead to 14-0 after the first quarter. Early in the second, Chase McGrath missed a 22-yard field goal, leaving USC with nothing to show for an 11-play, 63-yard drive that reached Notre Dame's 3.

Later in the quarter, Jones fielded a punt inside his own 10 but muffed the catch. Notre Dame recovered the ball and went up 21-0 three plays later on Josh Adams' 3-yard TD run.

The Trojans added a third turnover before the half was over when Irish cornerback Nick Watkins came up with a twisting interception in deep coverage down the left side.

Wimbush's 4-yard TD run around the left side with 3:54 until intermission was the final blow.

It is the second-largest halftime lead for Notre Dame in the history of this rivalry.