Notre Dame football capped off an undefeated regular season with a 24-17 win over USC.
They say in rivalry games you can throw out the records. Nothing you have accomplished all season long matters, because anything can happen when you factor in the emotions of a rivalry game. The Notre Dame football rivalry with USC is no different.
USC knew what their role was in this game. The Trojans had to put aside all the disappointments that came with this season and drown out the chants from their own fans to fire their head coach. There were only two reasons for USC to play in this game: No. 1, become bowl eligible; and No. 2, ruin Notre Dame’s undefeated season and chance to make the College Football Playoff.
The Trojans accomplished neither.
As much as Notre Dame would have loved to do the same thing to USC as they did to Syracuse, the Trojans made sure they would not be walked on.
Just like a pesky little brother, USC wouldn’t go away.
It took some time, but Notre Dame took the game over when they needed too. A big reason for that was the play of Nick Coleman down the stretch. When Notre Dame needed winning plays, he provided.
For most of the night, he had a quiet performance — much like the rest of the team. Only three total tackles in the stat sheet dwarf the impact he really made.
At the start of the fourth quarter, USC went on a drive that showed some promise. Facing a 3rd and 8, JT Daniels went to the target that he found success with all night — Amon-Ra St. Brown. Except this time, Colman was there for the breakup.
With 3:07 left in the game, USC went on a drive that made the final score closer than what it could have been. If USC’s efforts would have come a little quicker, who knows how the game would have ended.
Instead, it was Coleman who slowed things down.
Things got started for the Trojans as St. Brown looked like he could have saved USC. His effort was cut short as Coleman came through for the tackle.
On second and 10 from the 20-yard line, USC went for the end zone. Once again Coleman was there for the breakup.
When it came down to it, down to the wire, Coleman made game-winning plays.