No quarterback has ever had a better day against a Notre Dame defense than USC’s Cody Kessler did Saturday in Los Angeles.
The junior quarterback was almost as perfect as the west coast weather the two teams played in at the Coliseum.
Kessler was 32-of-40 passing for 372 yards and six touchdowns during the Trojans’ 49-14 victory.
It’s the first time any quarterback threw six touchdowns against the Fighting Irish in the program’s history.
USC’s 49 points are also the second-most points the Trojans have scored against Notre Dame during the storied rivalry.
Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian decided not to run up the score in the fourth quarter. Sarkisian pulled Kessler and placed redshirt freshman Max Browne into the lineup. USC didn’t score another point or a second record could have fallen.
Kessler was aided in his record-breaking performance by the play of his talented wide receivers, George Farmer and Nelson Agholor. Agholor led all receivers with 12 receptions and 120 yards. Farmer, meanwhile, averaged 21.5 yards per catch and scored a pair of long touchdowns.
With the win the Trojans improve to 8-4 in Sarksian’s first season at the helm of the program. However, there are multiple areas where the Trojans can improve during Sarkisian’s second year, particularly among the team’s coaching staff:
While USC’s future looks bright, Notre Dame lost four-straight contests to end the season and five of its last six games.
Changes could be on their way in South Bend.
The first change came during Saturday’s contest when sophomore quarterback Malik Zaire replaced senior Everett Golson. Golson was benched for his poor play, while Zaire finished the contest 9-of-20 passing for 170 yards.
As Notre Dame prepares for its bowl game, other changes in the lineup and possibly the coaching staff could be coming. Nine losses over the past two seasons isn’t good enough for a program that dreams of national championships each and every year.