Caleb Williams entered South Bend as the odds-on favorite to win a second straight Heisman. He ran into a Notre Dame football buzzsaw.
It’s hard to really express just how much Caleb Williams was dismantled by Notre Dame football on Saturday morning. In hindsight, it doesn’t feel like the final score does it justice.
Even if the final score was quite the impressive blowout.
It started on the first USC drive of the game. In a contest where Caleb Williams had to show that he was at the top of his game, he very much wasn’t. In the first Trojans’ drive he overthrew a receiver and the ball landed softly in the arms of Xavier Watts. That’s the same Watts that played a big roll in the win over Duke.
Notre Dame football was able to convert that interception into a 7-0 lead. At home, against a Top 10 team, it was important to grab the momentum. The did that. In hindsight, it was the play and the following drive that cemented the victory.
It seems like a dream last this point but once the Irish took that 7-0 lead, the USC Trojans never got any closer than that. There was a time when Caleb Williams and company looked like they might be rallying when they made it 24-13, but Notre Dame football almost immediately made sure the game was put away and took any doubt off the board.
The final score, 48-20 is one of those scores that feels like Notre Dame football fans couldn’t possibly have predicted because they would have been accused of not being realistic.
Notre Dame football ends Heisman campaign
Not only did Xavier Watts intercept Williams to end the Trojans first drive, but he also intercepted Williams on USC’s fourth drive. That allowed the Fighting Irish to go up 17-3 and essentially, put the game away.
As the final shovel of dirt on Williams’s Heisman campaign, the USC quarterback threw a third interception in the first half.
It feels like we all need to take a step back and really think about what the Notre Dame football did on Saturday night. Williams finished the night with 1 TD and 3 INTs. He came into Saturday night with 22 TDs and 1 INT.
He threw 5 interceptions all of last year. He threw 4 the year before at Oklahoma. This was the second time in his career he had a multi-interception game. It was the first time he had more than one pick in a game since November of his freshman year. It was the most interceptions he’d ever thrown in a game as a college quarterback.
The Notre Dame football defense dominated Caleb Williams in a fashion he’s never seen. And in the process absolutely dominated a long-time rival, and rejuvenated the Irish’s chances for a New Years 6 Bowl game when all is said and done.
Notre Dame also got to play spoiler tonight, as it seems totally unlikely the Trojans can hold onto dreams of a playoff appearance.