From the locker room: Coach O 'proud'

October, 19, 2013
10/19/13
11:42
PM PT
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notes, quotes, and anecdotes from Notre Dame Stadium after the Trojans (4-3, 1-2 Pac-12) lost to Notre Dame (5-2), 14-10.

USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron comments

Painful: "Well, we have a hurt team in there. They gave it everything they had. I was really proud of our football team and our players and our coaching staff. Game two of a new season, the way we competed to the very end."

Yellow and red: "Obviously the penalties hurt us tonight in crucial situations, and we didn't punch it in the red zone when we needed to. It seemed that every time we had a first down or something like that, we had a holding call or jumped offside. We shot ourselves in the foot, and then it was second and 20."

On Notre Dame defensive success: "Pressure. A lot of pressure. That was a good front. We knew it was a good front coming in, a lot of pressure, and we just seemed that we couldn't get things going. Those are big guys to block, 300 (pounds) in the middle."

On the offensive line: "Hey, listen, we made some mistakes. We didn't do the things we would like to do at a high level, but I am proud of all my guys, just like my family. They fought as hard as they can and gave it everything that they can."

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly comments

On beating USC: "They found a way to win the game. Our defense was outstanding in the second half and gave us a chance to win the football game. Great win, one that obviously when it comes to beating USC will go a long way with our guys."

On defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt: "He got the game ball. He was all over the place. They (USC) couldn't handle him today. If you're wanting to talk about a defensive lineman that was dominating, you could throw that word out there. He was a force out there."

On defending Trojans wide receiver Nelson Agholor: "I thought we defended well. If he was going to hit us on some drive routes and some intermediate routes, we were going to rally and tackle him, and that was the extent of it."

More notes and anecdotes

Key(s) to victory: The Notre Dame defense rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter, and the Trojans' offense didn't. Twice the Trojans had excellent opportunities in Irish territory and came away empty, especially the final drive of the game. It also didn't help that the Trojans were just 2 of 13 in third down conversions for the game.

The offensive scoring average: The Trojans scored 10 points against Notre Dame. Prior to the game with the Irish, the Trojans were averaging 28.0 points per game.

Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler comments: "It really sucks that we lost, but we gave it a good effort. As a team, we wanted badly to win it for Coach O and the coaching staff. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. We just have to eliminate the mistakes we're making as a team."

Defending the rush: Before the Notre Dame game, the Trojans defense was allowing 107.2 yards rushing per game. Against the Irish, the Trojans allowed 129 yards rushing.

Evaluating the defense: Safety Dion Bailey said, "I'm not trying to take anything away from Notre Dame, they played a great game, and they just made a couple more plays at the end that affected the outcome."

Offensively better: Before the Notre Dame game, the Trojans were averaging 408.0 yards per game in total offense. Against the Irish, the Trojans had 330 total yards on offense.

Kessler: "Not taking away anything from Notre Dame, we have to execute, and we missed too many assignments and were dropping balls. It's disappointing, but stuff that can be fixed, and we have to eliminate the penalties. We put ourselves in too many third and long situations."

Rush to dominance: Before the Notre Dame game, the Trojans were averaging 200.3 yards per game rushing. Against the Irish, the Trojans rushed for 129 net yards.

Grafting an answer: On his line's offensive penalties, starting senior right tackle Kevin Graf said, "I was definitely surprised (by the penalties). Honestly, I thought a lot of our guys were pretty angry about those calls, but we'll see what the film says. It's very frustrating. Someone like me who it's their senior year and this is the last time I'll get to be in this place. It's very upsetting."

Midwest fall: Temperature at kickoff was 48 degrees.

The defensive scoring average: The Trojans defense allowed 14 points to Notre Dame. Before the Irish game, the Trojans were allowing 22.8 points per game.

Confidence builder: After the game, it was an emotional Trojans locker room and wide receiver Darreus Rogers said, "Coach O told us to stay together and keep having one heartbeat."

Defensively speaking: Before the Notre Dame game, the Trojans were allowing an average of 340.3 total yards on defense. Against the Irish, the Cardinal and Gold allowed 295 total yards.

The infirmary: Freshman tailback Justin Davis left Notre Dame Stadium with a boot on his right ankle. Tight ends Xaiver Grimble and Randall Telfer also left with an ankle and knee problem, respectively. Marqise Lee said he tweaked his shoulder in the first half, and Orgeron wouldn't let him back in the game in the second half.

Air low: Before the Notre Dame game, the Trojans were allowing 233.2 passing yards per game. Against the Irish, the Trojans allowed 166 passing yards.

On beating the Trojans: Irish senior receiver T.J. Jones said, "Yeah, it doesn't feel bad, that's for sure. It's definitely a fulfilling feeling, three out of four years at my time here, and my last year, last time I'll ever play them."

Top tacklers: The Trojans defense was led by defensive lineman Leonard Williams with nine tackles, followed by corner Anthony Brown and safety Josh Shaw with seven tackles each.

Passing fancy: Before the Notre Dame game, the Trojans were averaging 207.7 passing yards per game. Against the Irish, the Trojans passed for 201 yards.

Getting worse: Before the Notre Dame game, the Trojans were averaging 59.3 penalty yards per game. Against the Irish, the Trojans were penalized 11 times for 95 yards.

Scouting the talent: NFL scouts in attendance included those representing the Rams, Eagles, Texans, Colts and Bears.

Next Saturday: The Trojans play host to Utah in the Coliseum in a Pac-12 South Division game. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. PT.

Greg Katz | email

Columnist, WeAreSC.com

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PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
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Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
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