Notre Dame won back the Jeweled Shillelagh from the USC Trojans on Saturday with a 41-31 victory.
Well, just your normal USC Notre Dame football game I guess.
Or did it? According to some Notre Dame insiders, USC did not even bring the Jeweled Shillelagh Trophy to South Bend with them.
In a rivalry game that had what seemed to be an endless amount of odd storylines already, got weirder inside Notre Dame Stadium. Before the game even started, USC Athletic Director and former Notre Dame football analyst for NBC Pat Haden, collapsed on the sideline and was sent to seek medical help.
And then the game got going…
The Trojans came out ready to play as they took their opening drive down the field for a touchdown. Another slow start for the Fighting Irish? Perhaps not. On Notre Dame’s ensuing drive, the Irish made sure to answer with a non-drive. DeShone Kizer hooked up with Will Fuller for a 75 yard touchdown on their first play.
After a USC field goal, Notre Dame rattled off two quick touchdowns to take a 21-10 lead in the first quarter. The first was another big chunk CJ Prosise touchdown run as Prosise finished the night with 143 yards and two touchdowns. The second, was off of a blocked punt- the first blocked punt for a TD since 2010 against Utah. Former USC Trojan Amir Carlilse was gifted the ball off of the block and did a scoop and score.
Oct 17, 2015; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after the game against the Southern California Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame defeats Southern California 41-31. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The Irish were on fire . They were so hot, that USC caught flames themselves. Adoree jackson stripped Irish receiver Tori Hunter Jr. at the goaline to stop the Irish from going up 28-10. Instead, USC got themselves two quick touchdowns (a 73 yard pass to Greene and a 83 yard pass to Jackson).
The rivals went into halftime tied up at 24 all.
After a back and forth third quarter that saw just one score, a short USC pass for a touchdown in the middle of the quarter, Notre Dame scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter quarter along with 2 interceptions of Kessler to put the game away with a final of 41-31.
No rivalry game can honestly be called, “weird” as history has shown that in these type of games, almost anything can happen (please see the MIchigan / Michigan State game for weird). For Brian Kelly, he stated the obvious, “Well, just your normal USC Notre Dame football game I guess.”
What feels normal, is that despite its possible whereabouts right now, The Jewled Shillelagh is coming home to Notre Dame. Brian Kelly is making this feel all too normal, and the Irish look comfortable to still make a serious run to the playoffs.