The first quarter of the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football may have taken a back seat to Ohio State and Michigan’s overtime outing in ‘The Game’ but No. 12 USC and Notre Dame combined for an interesting first half from a rainy L.A. Coliseum.
All told, the Trojans stayed hot and scored in all three phases to jump out to a 24-7 lead heading into the locker room. Tailback Ronald Jones scored on a 51 yard scamper in the second quarter to help him hit the century mark by halftime, while quarterback Sam Darnold (92 yards passing) continued his strong play by escaping several times to extend the team’s other drives out of the pocket.
Adoree’ Jackson also returned a punt for a touchdown 55 yards just before the end of the second quarter.
The Irish were actually the ones on the board first thanks to a 74 yard run from Josh Adams down the sidelines. That set up the team’s first touchdown on the next play but the offense couldn’t sustain any drives after that.
Signal-caller Deshone Kizer was able to dink-and-dunk his way to 70 yards passing but made several costly mistakes, including throwing a terrible interception that was returned for a touchdown.
The outcome doesn’t affect USC much in the big picture but the Trojans can keep their slim College Football Playoff hopes alive with a convincing win and a loss by Colorado later in the day to send them to the Pac-12 title game. Judging by the way things went in the first half, they’re well on their way.