Cierre Wood and the Irish won 20-16 in their last visit to USC, in 2010

No. 1 Irish Head to USC with BCS Championship Berth on the Line

Nov. 20, 2012

Complete Game Notes | ND-USC Gameweek Central | Award Candidates

Countdown To Kickoff

10. Notre Dame’s defense is only allowing 10.1 points per game this year and are tied with Alabama for the best scoring defense in the nation. Over the last 10 years, only two NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision defenses have allowed fewer points per game than this year’s Notre Dame defense. (Page 17)
9. Out of 60 plays in last week’s game, Wake Forest only had nine offensive snaps in Notre Dame territory, none deeper than the Irish 27-yard line. (Page 18)
8. The Irish defense has allowed eight touchdowns all season, by the far the fewest of any FBS team. The next closest is Alabama with 14 touchdowns allowed. (Page 17)
7. Notre Dame has been ranked No. 1 seven times when playing USC and the Irish are 5-2 in those matchups. Five times Notre Dame has played at USC undefeated and ranked No. 1 and the Irish have won three of those contests. (Page 4)
6. Only six Notre Dame quarterbacks have ever passed for more yards in a game than the 346 yards Everett Golson posted against Wake Forest. The amazing part is Golson was taken out of the game midway through the third quarter with a 38-0 lead. (Pages 37-38)
5. Since Sept. 17, 2011, Notre Dame has the fifth-best win percentage among all NCAA FBS teams. The Irish are 19-3 in its last 22 games, trailing only Oregon, Alabama, Northern Illinois and Georgia. (Page 12)
4. Sophomore DE Stephon Tuitt is tied for fourth in the nation with 12.0 sacks this year and trails Justin Tuck’s single-season school record by 1.5 sacks. (Page 31)
3. Notre Dame is one of three FBS teams to average more than 200 rushing yards per game on offense and allow less than 100 rushing yards per game on defense. (Page 32)
2. Senior LB Manti Te’o needs two tackles to become the second Notre Dame player to record three consecutive seasons of at least 100 tackles. (Pages 28-29)
1. Notre Dame is the first school in the BCS era to be ranked No. 1 in both the current BCS standings and the current NCAA Graduation Success Rate rankings. (Page 9)
0. No Notre Dame running back with as many career carries as senior RB Cierre Wood (438) has a better yards-per-carry average than Wood’s 5.5 yards per rush. (Pages 40-41)


  • Saturday, November 24, 2012


  • 5:00 p.m. PT


  • LA Memorial Coliseum (80,795); Los Angeles, Calif.


  • ABC national telecast with Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (analysis), Heather Cox (sideline), Bill Bonnell (producer) and Derek Mobley (director).


  • IMG College Sports is the exclusive national rights-holder for Irish football radio broadcasts. IMG College manages, produces and syndicates the Irish national football radio network. Notre Dame games will be broadcast by Don Criqui (play-by-play), former Irish great Allen Pinkett (analysis) and Jeff Jeffers (sideline). This broadcast can be heard live on both SIRIUS and XM Satellite Radio (channel 129).
  • All games can be heard in South Bend on News & Sports Radio 96.1 FM & 960 AM WSBT.


  • Including Saturday’s game with USC, Notre Dame has played before 275 capacity crowds among its 452 road games (.608) since 1930.
  • The Irish have played in front of sellout crowds in 254 of its previous 296 games (.858) overall. Notre Dame has played before 625 sellouts in 897 total games (.697) since 1930.

Web Sites

  • Notre Dame (, USC (


  • Notre Dame is ranked No. 1 this week in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ polls. The Irish jumped to No. 1 in the season’s sixth BCS standings. USC is unranked in either poll.

Real-Time Stats

  • Live in-game stats will be provided through CBS College Sports GameTracker via


  • Notre Dame and USC will be meeting for the 84th time in series history. The Irish lead the all-time series 43-35-5 overall, but the Trojans own a 21-18-4 advantage in the series when it shifts to Los Angeles.
  • This rivalry began in 1926, when legendary Irish head coach Knute Rockne became the first Midwestern coach to take a team to the West Coast (Notre Dame won that game, 13-12) and the teams have meet every season since (taking 1943-45 off due to travel restrictions during World War II).
  • Full series history is available on pages 44-48.


  • Notre Dame enters this weekend’s matchup with USC with an all-time record of 64-45-12 (.583) in regular-season finales (excludes 1887, 1889 seasons when the Irish played just one game) including 5-2-1 (.688) all-time on neutral fields, 42-38-10 (.522) on the road and 17-5-1 (.761) at home.
  • Notre Dame’s longest winning streak in regular-season finales is six, beginning with a Nov. 28, 1912 shutout of Marquette (69-0) and concluding with a Nov. 28, 1918 tie against Nebraska (0-0). The Irish actually posted an unbeaten streak of 10 games. Notre Dame went unbeaten in regular-season finales from 1912-21.
  • The longest losing streak is four games, beginning with a Dec. 2, 1961 loss at Duke (37-13) and concluding with a Nov. 27, 1965 tie against Miami (0-0).
  • The largest margin of victory in a regular-season finale was 69-0 against Marquette on Nov. 28, 1912.
  • The largest margin of defeat was 51 (58-7) to Miami on Nov. 30, 1985.
  • Notre Dame has played USC in its regular-season finale on 49 occasions–more than any other foe. The Irish are 23-22-4 (.510) in those meetings with the Trojans.
    Rank School Games ND Record
    1. USC 49 23-22-4
    2. Miami 10 5-4-1
    3. Marquette 5 2-0-3
    Stanford 5 2-3
    5. Great Lakes 4 1-2-1
    Nebraska 4 1-2-1
    Purdue 4 1-2-1
    SMU 4 4-0
  • Notre Dame is 23-21-5 (.520) in regular-season finales when ranked in the top 25 (post 1936).
  • The Irish are 23-14-5 (.607) in regular-season finales when facing an unranked opponent (post 1936).
  • Here’s a breakdown of each Notre Dame head coach’s record in regular-season finales (post 1912):

    Jesse Harper: 5-0 Knute Rockne: 9-3-1
    Hunk Anderson: 1-2 Elmer Layden: 4-2-1
    Hugh Devore: 0-2 Ed McKeever: 1-0
    Frank Leahy: 7-2-2 Terry Brennan: 3-2
    Joe Kuharich: 2-2 Ara Parseghian: 4-5-2
    Dan Devine: 3-3 Gerry Faust: 1-4
    Lou Holtz: 6-4-1 Bob Davie: 3-2
    Tyrone Willingham: 0-3 Charlie Weis: 2-3
    Brian Kelly: 1-1


  • Notre Dame had six regular season night games on the 2012 schedule, including Michigan State (Sept. 15), Michigan (Sept. 22), Miami, Fla. (Oct. 6), Oklahoma (Oct. 27), Boston College (Nov. 10) and USC (Nov. 27).
  • Notre Dame played seven night games in 2011, including the Champs Sports Bowl against Florida State. The seven night games was a school record.
  • The Irish played their first night game, a 48-6 rout of Detroit, on Oct. 5, 1951 in Briggs Stadium.
  • Notre Dame has played 106 night games overall with a record of 68-36-2 (.651), including 20-8-2 (.700) all-time on neutral fields, 41-26-2 (.609) on the road and 7-2 (.778) at home.
  • Notre Dame’s longest winning streak in night games is 11, beginning with an Oct. 13, 1973 win at Rice and concluding with a Sept. 24, 1983 shutout loss at Miami (20-0), which went on to win its first national title.
  • The longest losing streak is nine under Bob Davie.
  • The largest margin of defeat was 38-3 at USC on Nov. 29, 2008, eking out the Jan. 1, 1973 Orange Bowl to Nebraska (40-6) — which would inspire the Irish to win the national title the next year under Ara Parseghian.
  • The largest margin of victory at night was 57-7 at Stanford on Nov. 29, 2004, when Tyrone Willingham poured it on his former employer.
  • Notre Dame’s night history can almost be divided into two eras – the 35-year pre-Lou Holtz era from 1951-85, and the 25 years since Holtz took the reins in 1986. It was under Holtz that multiple night games in a season became standard at Notre Dame. It eventually prompted the exclusive NBC contract for home games that commenced with the 1991 season.
  • In the 35 years from 1951-85, Notre Dame was 21-6-1 (.768) in night games. In the 11 years under Holtz alone (1986-96), the Irish were an almost identical 20-5-1 (.788).
  • Notre Dame is 6-8 (.429) at night in bowls, where it has a six-game losing streak and has not won since the 39-28 conquest of Florida in the 1992 Sugar Bowl.
  • Notre Dame has played more night games against Miami, Fla. (13) than any other foe. The Irish are 7-5-1 (.577) at night against the Hurricanes.
  • Notre Dame and USC have played 10 night contests in series history (3-6-1), including each of the last three meetings (2006, 2008, 2010) in Los Angeles.
  • Here’s a look at Notre Dame head coach’s record at night:

    Frank Leahy: 1-0 Terry Brennan: 1-1
    Joe Kuharich: 0-1 Ara Parseghian: 10-2-1
    Dan Devine: 5-0 Gerry Faust: 4-2
    Lou Holtz: 20-5-1 Bob Davie: 2-9
    Tyrone Willingham: 5-2 Kent Baer: 0-1
    Charlie Weis: 9-7 Brian Kelly: 11-5


  • Notre Dame is ranked No. 1 in either the Associated Press or USA Today Coaches poll for the first time since Nov. 15, 1993.
  • Notre Dame is the first team to climb from unranked to the nation’s top spot since Missouri in 2007. The Tigers opened the season unranked and vaulted to No. 1 on Nov. 25.
  • Notre Dame went 6,937 days between its last two No. 1 rankings dating back to the 41-39 loss to Boston College on Nov. 20, 1993. The previous long drought was from Oct. 2, 1954 until Nov. 1, 1964, a span of 3,683 days.
  • Notre Dame ranks second all-time for the most appearances as the nation’s top-ranked team. In the 1,050 AP polls taken, the Irish have been atop the standings on 96 different occasions.
    Rank School Appearances
    1. Oklahoma 101
    2. Notre Dame 96
    3. Ohio State 94
    4. USC 91
    5. Nebraska 70
    6. Miami (Fla.) 68
    7. Florida State 60
    8. Alabama 56
    9. Texas 45
    10. Florida 41
  • The Irish played their first game as the No. 1 team in the country, a 9-7 victory at No. 16 Northwestern, on Nov. 19, 1938.
  • Notre Dame has played 77 games overall as the top-ranked team in the nation with an overall record of 62-12-3 (.825).
  • In the 36 road games that the Irish have been ranked No. 1, Notre Dame is 27-7-2 (.778) – with the losses coming in 1938 vs. USC, 1943 vs. Great Lakes, 1964 vs. USC, 1965 vs. Purdue, 1967 vs. Purdue, 1981 vs. Michigan and 1989 vs. Miami.
  • In the 33 home games that the Irish have been ranked No. 1, Notre Dame is 27-5-1 (.833) – with the losses coming in 1950 vs. Purdue, 1954 vs. Purdue, 1990 vs. Stanford, 1990 vs. Penn State and 1993 vs. Boston College.
  • Notre Dame is 8-0 (1.000) as the No. 1 team in the nation on neutral fields, including the 1988 Fiesta Bowl victory over West Virginia that gave the Irish their last national championship.
  • Notre Dame’s longest winning streak in games as the nation’s top-ranked team is 17, beginning with an Oct. 14, 1944 win over Dartmouth at Fenway Park and concluding with a Oct. 7, 1950 loss against Purdue (28-14).
  • The largest margin of victory as the No. 1 team in the country was 64-0 over Dartmouth at Fenway Park on Oct. 14, 1944.
  • The largest margin of defeat as the No. 1 team in the country was 25-7 at Michigan on Sept. 19, 1981.
  • Here’s a look at Notre Dame head coach’s record when ranked No. 1 in the nation:

    Elmer Layden: 1-1 Frank Leahy: 29-2-1
    Ed McKeever: 3-0 Terry Brennan: 0-1
    Ara Parseghian: 11-3-1 Dan Devine: 0-0-1
    Gerry Faust: 0-1 Lou Holtz: 18-4

  • Notre Dame and USC have played seven times in series history when the Irish were ranked No. 1. Notre Dame is 5-2 in those matchups. The Irish last played the Trojans as the nation’s top-ranked team on Nov. 26, 1988, when Notre Dame bested No. 2 USC, 27-10, en route to a perfect regular season and eventual national championship.
  • Notre Dame has taken a No. 1 ranking and undefeated record into five previous season finales at USC (1938, 1947, 1964, 1966 and 1988). The Irish are 3-2 in those meetings. The defeats in ’38 and ’64 were the only setbacks for Notre Dame in those campaigns and cost the Irish national titles.
  • Notre Dame has played more games as the No. 1 team in the nation against Purdue (eight) than any other foe. The Irish are 4-4 (.500) as the nation’s top-ranked team against the Boilermakers.
    Rank School Games ND Record
    1. Purdue 8 4-4
    2. USC 7 5-2
    3. Michigan State 6 5-0-1
    Navy 6 6-0
    5. Michigan 4 3-1
    Northwestern 4 4-0
    Pittsburgh 4 4-0
    8. Georgia Tech 3 2-0-1
    Iowa 3 2-0-1
    North Carolina 3 3-0
    Penn State 3 2-1

Click here for complete release in PDF form.