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Irish Knock Off USC, 27-16

Oct 20, 2001

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Associated Press Writer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Carlyle Holiday rushed for 98 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown run, as Notre Dame beat Southern Cal 27-16 Saturday for its third straight victory after opening with three losses for the first time ever.

The Irish (3-3) fell behind 13-3 early in the second quarter after their defense got caught in the huddle while Carson Palmer threw a 20-yard scoring pass. But the Irish outscored the Trojans (2-5) 24-3 the rest of the way.

Julius Jones, who ran for 95 yards on 21 carries, put the game away with a 5-yard TD run with 1:21 left. The score was set up by Palmer’s fumble.

The defeat leaves Southern Cal a loss away from its second straight losing season. The Trojans haven’t had consecutive losing seasons since 1960-61.

Notre Dame has beaten Southern Cal three straight to take a 42-26-5 series lead. The Irish also have won 16 straight in October and are 17-2 in the month under coach Bob Davie.

The comeback victory was reminiscent of two years ago when the Irish, trailing 24-3, scored 22 points in the second half to beat the Trojans 25-24.

This time the comeback began late in the second half on a failed fake punt by Southern Cal. Punter Mike MacGillivray attempted to run for a first down on third-and-5. Shane Walton made a nice open-field tackle at the Southern Cal 28.

The Irish scored four plays later on a 4-yard run by Terrance Howard, who has played sparingly since fumbling on the opening play against Nebraska in the opener.

The Trojans went ahead 16-10 early in the third quarter following a fumble by Holiday, who had three. The Irish appeared to have the Trojans stopped at the 30. But on fourth-and-6, Palmer threw a pass to Keary Colbert, who broke a tackle and ran for another 20 yards before being tackled at the 1. The Irish stopped the Trojans on three straight plays, however, and Southern Cal had to settle for an 18-yard field goal by David Davis to move ahead 16-10.

The Irish answered immediately with an eight-play, 71-yard TD drive capped by Holiday’s 35-yard touchdown run. Holiday, who left the game briefly with a bruised knee early in the game, ran an option right and broke two tackles to score.

Holiday, making his fourth start, fell 2 yards shy of a third straight 100-yard rushing game. Notre Dame’s two leading rushing quarterbacks, Tony Rice and Jarious Jackson, had only two 100-yard rushing games in their careers.

The Irish had the chance to put the game away on their next possession. Holiday threw a 42-yard pass to Javin Hunter, who fell at the 1 after a diving touchdown-saving tackle by Kevin Arbet. Several plays later, however, Holiday fumbled at the 2.

The Irish had another chance to put it away on their next possession after an interception by Abram Elam at the Southern Cal 19. But they lost 18 yards on three plays and had to punt.

Southern Cal had just 98 yards total offense in the second half after having 192 yards in the first half. The Irish had 194 yards total offense in the second half and 346 yards for the game.

Palmer, who hadn’t thrown an interception the previous two games, had two against the Irish. He was 19 of 30 passing for 230 yards. He threw a 54-yard scoring pass to Chad Pierson on a play Notre Dame cornerback Vontez Duff jumped too early on what looked like an early interception.

Sunny Byrd, filling in for injured Sultan McCullough, had 62 yards rushing, 48 of it in the first half.

Holiday was 9-of-12 for 133 yards.

The Irish were caught napping early in the second quarter after an Irish turnover when Holiday fumbled at the 20 on an option keeper. Southern Cal’s offense raced onto the field in a five-receiver set with Palmer in the shotgun. Notre Dame was still huddling when the ball was hiked. Palmer threw the ball to Colbert on the right sideline and he ran untouched for the touchdown.