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Five things we learned in USC's victory over Notre Dame

Five things we learned in USC's 49-14 victory over Notre Dame

USC defeated Notre Dame, 49-14, on Saturday at the Coliseum.

Here are five things we learned in the Trojans’ victory.

Bounce-back ability

UCLA routed USC last week, 38-20, in a rivalry game, and the question was whether the Trojans would be motivated for another rivalry game.

But a convincing 49-14 victory over Notre Dame proved that this team has a great ability to bounce back.

USC was defeated four times this season, but came back with a victory after each loss.

Kessler rebounds

Quarterback Cody Kessler proved his resiliency after he struggled against UCLA.

Kessler completed a career-best 32 passes for 372 yards and six touchdowns – the most touchdowns ever thrown against Notre Dame.

Criticized last week for targeting Nelson Agholor too much, Kessler completed passes to nine receivers, five of whom caught passes for touchdowns.

Farmer was underutilized

USC coaches have said George Farmer is the fastest player on the team.

He proved his speed against the Fighting Irish.

Twice, Farmer beat his defender off the line of scrimmage for receptions that resulted in touchdowns.

The first was a 48-yard pass play from Kessler that gave USC a 7-0 lead. The second was a 31-yard reception that put the Trojans up 21-0.

Farmer caught four passes for 85 yards.

His performance begs the question: Why wasn’t he targeted more this season?

Up-tempo is possible

For the first time since the opener against Fresno State, USC’s offense operated at an up-tempo pace.

USC has been a no-huddle team all season, but rarely did the offense move fast enough to keep a defense off balance.

Notre Dame’s defense struggled to get set most of the game and gave up 577 yards.

Tough to replace

Linebackers J.R. Tavai and Hayes Pullard are crucial players on defense and proved their skill will be difficult to replace.

Tavai made 4.5 tackles for a loss, including 3.5 sacks, and forced a fumble. He kept the pressure on Notre Dame quarterbacks Everett Golson and Malik Zaire the entire game.

Pullard recovered a fumble and broke up a pass.

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a weekly USC Now mailbag. 

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