Notre Dame football vs USC: 3 Biggest Irish wins in rivalry history
1977-Notre Dame 49 USC 19 “The Green Jersey Game”
Dan Devine brought a deep, talented roster to South Bend in 1977. Among the legendary names that came back were Ken MacAfee, Ross Browner, Bob Golic, and some guy named Joe Montana. Even with all that talent and heavy expectations, the Irish started the 1977 season fairly slowly. They beat a ranked Pitt team, before being upset by Ole Miss and winning a couple of close games after that.
The Irish seemed to be stuck around 11th in the country and were 4-1 coming into the annual game with USC, this time mid-season and being held in South Bend.
For USC’s part, they had been ranked as high as number 1 in the country, before they lost to Bear Bryant’s Alabama by a point. Still, at 5-1, the Trojans were ranked 5th and favored. It was John Robinson’s second season in Los Angeles, and players like Clay Matthews Jr, Rob Hertel, and Charles White rounded out the roster.
Of course, this game is iconic for a few reasons, but the truth is it’s most iconic for how the Irish came onto the field. The captains rode out in a Trojan horse, the team was jumping up and down, the crowd exploded. Most importantly, The Irish were wearing Green Jerseys, a surprise to everyone including the players. The coin toss hadn’t even happened yet, and Notre Dame had won the game. They just had to name their score.
In all honesty, it was an ugly game. There were missed kicks and turnovers galore. In fact, there were ten combined turnovers. Even with that, though, Notre Dame was dominant. MacAfee caught two touchdown passes from Montana. The defense didn’t let USC into the endzone until the fourth quarter.
The Notre Dame football team takes on the USC Trojans in Week 8 of the college football season, and here are three things to keep an eye on.
From this point on, Notre Dame football managed to dominate their opponents. The Irish offense averaged 46 points per game after that in the regular season. Still, they couldn’t get ahead of the number 5 spot during the regular season. That is until the Irish got their shot at top-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl, where the Irish won in a landslide. That was all anyone needed to see, the Green Jersey Game had propelled Notre Dame football to a National Championship.