All the Talk is About Irish “Beauty Points” This Week

College football spotlight: Notre Dame tunes up for USC, and possibly the playoff

Following the network’s telecast of Notre Dame’s first shutout since 2014, the TV narrative turned toward how its next nationally televised opponent, rival USC, could draw more beauty points for the No. 9-ranked Irish.

“Is this an opportunity for Notre Dame? You saw them against Georgia,” broadcaster Liam McHugh asked earnestly, referencing the Irish’s 23-17 loss two weeks ago, “and now a night game against USC, where they can show the rest of the country that we should be in the conversation, right up there in the playoffs.”

“Yes, I get it, I think we both feel the same way,” analyst Chris Simms answered. “This Notre Dame is talented, it’s really well-coached, we saw them go toe to toe against Georgia … they can’t help their schedule, OK. USC, Stanford, some of these teams are not as good, but when they scheduled these games they thought they’d be big-time matchups.

“Either way, it’s USC-Notre Dame, all eyeballs will be on the game next week and it’s another opportunity for … Notre Dame to go, ‘No we got athletes, we’re legit, and we are a contender as far as the college football playoff.’”

The next shot was of a graphic showing the next seven games of Notre Dame’s schedule, with a ProFootballFocus.com Win Probability calculation that showed the 4-1 Irish have an 86% edge in the home game against 3-2 USC, which was idle this week.

Still, this was Bowling Green, the Mid-American Conference team who came in as a 45½-point underdog. Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book racked up a school-record five touchdown passes in the first half. He could have tied Brady Quinn’s record of six early into the second half, but missed on a third-down pass to Javon McKinley near the goal line, then left the contest.

“Coach challenged us this week to just focus on ourselves,” Book said. “He talks about every week having a faceless opponent. Great teams go out there and win no matter what. Respect for Bowling Green, but we wanted to go out there and put up a lot of points and just really focus on the small details.”
And big results. The Irish had 573 total yards and put up their second 52-point victory of the season, matching a 66-14 trouncing of New Mexico in Week 2.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Notre Dame’s 35-0 halftime lead was the greatest it has enjoyed since took 40-0 and 35-0 advantages over Pitt and Rutgers in consecutive weeks in November 1996. Remember what happened then?

Those two games, the Irish pulled off 60-6 and 62-0 wins at home. Then, ranked No. 10, Notre Dame went to L.A. to face the unranked Trojans, and lost 27-20, in overtime.

(USC safety Sammy Knight was a huge difference-maker for John Robinson-coached USC the night USC came from behind to beat ND in OT in the Coliseum on Nov. 30, 1996.)

latimes.com

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Steveg
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I keep thinking what happens if USC beats ND and ucla this season. Will they keep the HC? We still have to deal with AZ and AZ ST, Colorado, Oregon, and Cal. The best way out is to get the new AD in place, asap, that will place the writing on the wall that a new coach will be coming.

LawyerJohn
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Never fear, Coach Kelly is here. Kelly, who is in his 10th year as Notre Dame’s coach, says this is the best Trojan defense he will face. Guess SC is not known for stellar defense, nor for offense, notwithstanding the Sam Darnold years.

Jamaica
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What us Trojans wouldn’t do to see Brian Kelly pose like that Ara picture with his arms over his head. Where is AD (the Irish killer)? We need him to put on his uniform and just stand back in the end zone for a kickoff and panic the whole Irish fanbase one….more….time!

trojandn
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USC needs to manage the game so that they have a chance to win it in the fourth quarter. This means taking what the defense gives you and running Mr Stepp for short yardage first downs and no forced easy interceptions. The ND QB is just good… not great so I can see at least one interception from the defense. USC’s punter also needs to show up so that ND is forced to go the length of the field for a touchdown. Basically, USC will have to play a ugly field position game to get their first beautiful road win.

RialtoTrojan
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One of the “what do you mean you retained him,” moments for Lynn Swann was the fact that at the time besides his win loss record as a whole, Helton was 1&3 against the Irish. In fact the debacle in South Bend is what the ND coach used to parlay more time for himself. And Helton points to their turn around as a model for his success. I wonder Clay,where do you expect to get a patsy like you were a couple of years ago to prove things are turning around? I don’t mind close games- they happen every once… Read more »

Jamaica
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You know R-T, I still feel Kelly held last year’s score down beating Helton by what, 10 points? Hoping he wouldn’t chase Helton out of town, so he could play him more times for sure wins….. you got to hand it to Kelly, he’s no dummy.

Steveg
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If only we had an AD, they could meet Helton on the tarmac at LAX Sunday morning.

Golden Trojan
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Assuming an AD comes aboard in the next month, I see the tarmac scene coming back from a loss at ASU. That will be 3 losses in a row, loss number 6, and very Kiffinesk and nostalgic. Funny you mention tarmac/Sunday Morning to an SC fan and we know exactly what you mean!

Jamaica
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This is pretty much hell week trying to figure out how we can surprise the Irish with a brilliant game plan that will stun them. How about passing on 1st down (and 2nd & 3rd downs also?) How about telling our punter he needs to kick 60-yarders or its a long way swimming back to Australia. What about Clay Helton not getting his wakeup call, misses the team bus and GH is on the sideline running the team? What about Clancy taking a crash course on lip reading with a direct view angle to the Irish playcaller? What about all… Read more »