Fourth-quarter drive crucial in Irish victory over USC

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) - For much of Saturday’s game, the Irish were in control, but tensions rose following a scuffle at halftime, and heart rates increased as the Trojans looked to make a comeback.

Irish fans got a little nervous late in the fourth quarter Saturday night as the Trojans marched down the field and capped it off with a Tyler Vaughn touchdown, making it a three-point game.

Notre Dame then had to march down the field themselves and focus on scoring and getting time off the clock.

And they did just that. Ian Book took the team 75 yards into the end zone, shaving nearly seven minutes off the clock.

“I really felt all 11 guys were truly confident we were going to go down and score,” Book said. “I could feel the buzz, I could feel the energy. I was just confident as I could be that we were going to be in the right play calls. We just had to go out there and do it, and that's what we did.”

The two-score game gave Notre Dame a cushion heading into the final minutes of the game.

Head coach Brian Kelly says everything went according to plan.

“I thought Chip [Long] did a really good job of being measured in terms of not wanting to push tempo but to use clock in that situation,” Kelly said. “So just a well-orchestrated drive that ate a lot of clock, because obviously, they had that quick touchdown, and it was important, from my perspective, that we take some time with that drive.”'

Notre Dame won its third consecutive matchup against the rival Trojans.

They enter the bye week now, which gives them plenty of time to prepare for their next game, also against a rival.

The Irish take on Michigan in another prime-time showdown Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m.