It’s the game of the year for USC . . . and Notre Dame. This is the first time since 2011 that Brian Kelly has faced USC with its full-time coach. He faced Ed Orgeron in 2013 and Clay Helton in 2015. That means Kelly has never defeated a full-time USC head coach in South Bend because he lost to Lane Kiffin in 2011.
In the flashback photo above, USC fullback Ben Wilson goes over the top of the line of scrimmage against Notre Dame in 1962.
USC safety Marvin Pollard, the father of current safety C.J. Pollard, was involved in an infamous onside kick in the 1991 USC-Notre Dame game. The Trojans scored to cut the Irish’s lead to 24-20 with 1:50 remaining.
USC then tried an onside kick. The ball hit a Notre Dame player then the ground and Pollard fell on it. A game official signaled USC recovered. But then another official came over and ruled Notre Dame’s Irv Smith recovered the ball. USC coach Larry Smith came on the field to protest and the Trojans received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
USC was already angry because Notre Dame scored a TD even though Tony Brooks fumbled before crossing the goal line.
“You hear all this talk about the luck of the Irish,” Pollard said. “It makes you wonder.”
Important to remember how USC tailback Aca’Cedric Ware feels about Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery’s cheap shot last season.
“Some people get smacked in games; I got smacked,” Ware said. “It happens. I’m not mad about it. When I saw (the replay), I thought, `That was me?’ I feel like in the end, it got overblown.”