Notre Dame vs USC Football

Notre Dame vs USC Odds

College football’s longest, richest and, in many eyes, most influential intersectional rivalry between Notre Dame and USC continues to go strong.

Notre Dame and USC have played against one another for more than 90 years, and the two schools have produced some of college football’s most iconic memories in addition to multiple national championships.

Betting lines in this rivalry are most impacted by championship implications rather than home-field advantage despite visiting teams traveling across country. Case in point: The 2002-2009 eight-game USC winning streak that saw the Trojans prevail four times in South Bend.

However, because of the intensity level associated with a rivalry game of this magnitude, don’t underestimate the power of an underdog opponent when the lines are made. Motivation, pressure and even hostility are all factors not to overlook when looking at placing a bet on a rivalry game like ND-USC versus more standard college football matchups.

Notre Dame vs USC History

One of the longest-running rivalries in college football, Notre Dame and USC began playing each other in 1926, and with the exception of three seasons during World War II (1943-1945) met up every year since. The Irish vacated wins in 2012 and 2013 due to NCAA sanctions, while the Trojans did the same for their victory in 2005.

The schools have won 22 combined national titles, and their yearly game has carried championship implications on a number of occasions as well as the Jeweled Shillelagh, a trophy awarded to the winner.

Great Notre Dame-USC Games

Many chapters have been written in the history of these two schools meeting with one spoiling the other’s championship aspirations. None depicted that storyline better than the 2005 meeting in South Bend when defending champ USC came to Notre Dame on a 27-game winning streak.

Notre Dame had a 31-28 lead when USC got to their goal line in the closing seconds. Coach Pete Carroll instructed quarterback Matt Leinart to spike the ball and stop the clock in a move seemingly set up to kick a game-tying field goal. But Leinart kept it, tried to run it into the end zone only to be greeted by a rush of Notre Dame defenders. To the rescue came running back Reggie Bush, who helped push Leinart over the line for the win in a play forever known as the “Bush Push.”

In 1986 Notre Dame pulled off a thrilling one point win in what would be coach Lou Holtz’s final season. The Fighting Irish trailed 37-20 in the fourth quarter at the LA Memorial Coliseum. Enter quarterback Steve Beuerlein, who had been benched earlier in the game for throwing an interception.

He tossed two touchdown passes and added a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 37-35. Then it was Tim Brown returning a punt 56 yards to set up the winning field goal by John Carney. Final score: Notre Dame 38, USC 37.

Infamous Notre Dame-USC Moments

In 1977, Notre Dame coach Dan Devine was looking for a spark to get his team back on track after an upset loss to Ole Miss in the second week of the season. His answer was a wardrobe change. The Fighting Irish wore their traditional blue jerseys during pre-game warm-ups. But when they came into the locker room before kickoff there were green jerseys waiting for the players.

When they returned to the field, the huge crowd went wild at the sight of the green jerseys and that energy carried through the entire game. It ended with quarterback Joe Montana leading Notre Dame to a 49-19 victory.

Notre Dame began wearing the green jerseys like these as a motivational ploy in 1977.
Notre Dame began wearing the green jerseys like these as a motivational ploy in 1977.

Notre Dame was ranked No. 1 in 1989 and on an 18-game winning streak. But before things even began, a huge brawl broke out between players in the tunnel. It set the tone for a very competitive yet chippy game eventually won by the Irish 28-24.

Notable Players

The laundry list of players who inflicted anguish on the opposition is a long one. Reggie Bush and the “Bush Push” has left the former running back still high on the public enemy list in South Bend to this day. Anthony Davis scored four touchdowns in USC’s 55-24 comeback win in 1974.

The stellar list of players from both schools account for All-Americans (101 for Notre Dame and 80 for USC), College Football Hall of Famers (52 from Notre Dame and 35 from USC) and Pro Football Hall of Famers (13 from Notre Dame and 12 from USC). No two schools have combined to produce as many football honorees as Notre Dame and USC.

Notre Dame vs USC FAQs

  • What is the Notre Dame-USC All-Time Record?
    Notre Dame leads the all-time series with USC 48-37-5.
  • When Do Notre Dame and USC Play Next?
    Notre Dame and USC next play October 12, 2019 at Notre Dame.
  • When Did Notre Dame and USC Last Play?
    Notre Dame and USC last played on November 24, 2018, with the Irish winning 24-17.
  • When Did Notre Dame and USC First Play?
    Notre Dame and USC first played on December 4, 1926.
  • Who Won the First Meeting Between Notre Dame and USC?
    Notre Dame won the first meeting 13-12.