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Notre Dame loses QB Tommy Rees in win over USC

Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas gets lift from offensive lineman Nick Martafter his touchdown catch first quarter Saturday against

Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas gets a lift from offensive lineman Nick Martin after his touchdown catch in the first quarter Saturday against USC. | Getty Images

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NOTRE DAME 14,
USC 10

USC 7 3 0 0 — 10

Notre Dame 7 7 0 0 — 14

First Quarter

USC—Redd 1 run (Heidari kick), 4:03.

ND—Niklas 7 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), :00.

Second Quarter

USC—FG Heidari 22, 7:50.

ND—T.Jones 11 pass from Rees (Brindza kick), 1:13.

A—80,795.

TEAM STATISTICS USC ND

First downs 18 17

Rushes-yards 31-129 40-129

Passing 201 166

Comp-Att-Int 20-34-1 14-25-0

Return Yards 100 4

Punts-Avg. 6-37.3 8-36.5

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1

Penalties-Yards 11-95 6-38

Time of Possession 31:18 28:42

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Southern Cal, Redd 19-112, Allen 7-20, Davis 2-12, Isaac 1-1, Kessler 2-(minus 16). Notre Dame, McDaniel 18-92, G.Atkinson 8-40, Carlisle 3-12, Fuller 1-5, Hendrix 6-5, Team 2-(minus 2), Rees 2-(minus 23).

PASSING—Southern Cal, Kessler 20-34-1-201. Notre Dame, Rees 14-21-0-166, Hendrix 0-4-0-0.

RECEIVING—Southern Cal, Agholor 6-89, Rogers 6-60, Lee 2-18, Vainuku 2-16, Davis 1-7, Redd 1-6, Pinner 1-3, Flournoy 1-2. Notre Dame, Niklas 4-58, T.Jones 4-46, Daniels 3-44, C.Brown 1-8, Fuller 1-5, McDaniel 1-5.

NOTRE DAME (5-2)

Aug. 31 Temple W, 28-6

Sept. 7 at Michigan L, 41-30

Sept. 14 at Purdue W, 31-24

Sept. 21 Mich. State W, 17-13

Sept. 28 Oklahoma L, 35-21

Oct. 5 Ariz. State W, 37-34

Oct. 19 USC W, 14-10

Oct. 26 at Air Force 4 p.m.

Nov. 2 Navy 2:30 p.m.

Nov. 9 at Pittsburgh TBA

Nov. 23 BYU 2:30 p.m.

Nov. 30 at Stanford TBA

Updated: November 21, 2013 7:04AM



SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame quarterback Andrew Hendrix dropped back to pass, but the ball slipped out of his hand for a fumble.

The play pretty much summed up the second half of the Irish’s game Saturday against USC.

Both offenses came to a screeching halt, but Notre Dame did just enough early and its defense made enough plays late for a 14-10 victory in front of 80,795 fans at Notre Dame Stadium.

Hendrix entered the game after starting quarterback Tommy Rees suffered a neck strain. The senior quarterback was injured after
being sacked by linebacker Lamar Dawson with 9:16 left in the third quarter. He didn’t return.

‘‘He got hit, and they wanted to bring him in for more observations,’’ Irish coach Brian Kelly said. ‘‘He’s really sore. We’ll know more as we kind of move through the next 24 to 48 hours.’’

Rees completed 14 of 21 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. His 11-yard touchdown to TJ Jones with 1:13 left in the second quarter gave Notre Dame the lead for good. The Irish have won three of the last four games in the series, but this was the first time they had defeated the Trojans at home since 2001.

Notre Dame won despite the
offense disappearing once Rees had to leave. The Irish had 295 yards of total offense, just 47 in the second half.

Hendrix, who has been used to give Notre Dame a running
option at quarterback this season, was 0-for-4 passing. He had six carries for five yards.

‘‘We’ve got to play better, flat out,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘He’s got to play better, and we’ll see where we are in the next 24 to 48 hours when we get a full [evaluation] on Tommy.’’

USC’s offense also sputtered. The Trojans had 330 yards of total offense, 121 in the second half. USC played without leading rusher Tre Madden, and star wide receiver Marqise Lee left after halftime
because of an injury to his left knee.

Penalties also crushed the Trojans. They were penalized times for 95 yards.

‘‘That’s a good [defensive] front,’’ USC interim coach Ed Orgeron said. ‘‘We knew it was a good front coming in, a lot of pressure, and we just seemed that we couldn’t get things going.’’

Both teams were in a groove offensively in the first half. After Silas Redd had a one-yard touchdown run for the Trojans, Rees threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Troy Niklas to tie the score at 7. Jones made an acrobatic catch for his 11-yard touchdown for the final points of the game.

‘‘I was fighting him downfield, was fighting him hands off, hands off,’’ Jones said. ‘‘At the last second, you just turn [and] make a contested catch.’’

The second half became part
defensive slugfest and part offensive offenses. Stephon Tuitt led the Irish’s defensive effort with two sacks.

USC had a couple of late scoring chances but came up empty. First, the Trojans took over at Notre Dame’s 34 with 6:27 left after
recovering a fumble by Cam McDaniel, but Tuitt sacked Cody
Kessler on fourth down.

USC had a final shot with 1:35 left and eventually reached the Irish’s 36. But a false start and two incomplete passes ended the possession, giving the latest chapter of the storied series to Notre Dame.

‘‘Whether it’s here or on the road,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘it’s important to beat your rival.’’

Email: lpope@post-trib.com

Twitter: @lamondpope



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