News and Notes: 10/17/2007

The last time Notre Dame and USC met in South Bend, a classic for the ages was played between two of the most historic programs in college football. There were so many memorable moments from the contest, whether it be an injured Chris Frome trying to pump up the crowd or Brady Quinn's late touchdown drive to put the Irish ahead. Still, one play looms the largest.

That play has a name and Notre Dame fans still cringe when they hear it. It was the "Bush Push," as his Reggie Bush pushing quarterback Matt Leinart across the goal line with second left on the clock to preserve the victory for top-ranked USC. The Trojans would go undefeated into the National Championship game but lost a chance at a three-peat when Vince Young's heroics were too much to overcome as Texas took home the title. Notre Dame didn't lose for the rest of season until going down to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. The legacy of the classic contest will live forever in both schools' tradition.

"It was a great game," Weis said. :The problem is you hate to be remembered as the losing coach in an epic battle. You hate to be remembered that way. But it was a heck of a game.

After the game in 2005, a defeated Weis took his son, Charlie, Jr., to the USC locker room to congratulate Trojans head coach Pete Carroll and his team.

"If I didn't think the game was that big of a game, I wouldn't have gone out of my way to let their players know that I thought it was a heck of a game because you knew that you had been part of something special," Weis said. "It just wasn't just another regular season game. This was two teams going right to the end and them making a gutsy call at the end that ended up paying off.

"You've got to give it to them. Got to give it to the coach, got to give it to the quarterback, because it was ultimately his decision. You've got to give it to the running back for helping aid them in getting in there, a heads-up play."

Besides the "Bush Push" and all the other great plays, there's another lasting issue that still causes both fan bases to get into a tizzy. The USC contingent claims the grass that afternoon was a tad high in Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish refute this charge. Making it worse was the Trojans Desmond Reed suffering a season-ending injury, as did Notre Dame's Frome. After two years of accusations both sides, Weis had one comment on the issue.

"I remember Desmond Reed got hurt in that game and no way do you ever want a player getting hurt from another team for any reason," Weis said. "But this is the Midwest, and we're going to play five games in a row at home. T hat's where we are right now. Now, fortunately this is only game two. But it isn't like our grass grows like we're living in the south. It is what it is. It's patchy and it's not the same as playing on Bermuda grass in the south."

***Two years ago, Notre Dame came out of the tunnel wearing green jerseys. On Saturday afternoon, the Irish will be wearing green uniforms again, but of a different shade with yellow pants. Notre Dame will be commemorating the 1977 team that donned green jerseys and beat USC. The Irish went on to win the national championship that season. Weis is a big fan of the green uniforms in 2005. The Notre Dame head coach isn't too hot about the 1977 version, although the team had the votes to make the change.

"I think they're ugly and (the players) think they're cool," Weis said. "I think that any throwback jersey definitely is unique, and it's something that I'm sure it'll be a hot commodity in a book store relatively quickly because I think that any time you have a throwback thing, it's something that just hasn't been around.

When I showed it to them, I figured it was going to be an emphatic no. I brought them in here, here's this, do you want to wear it? ‘Yeah, yeah.' I said, ‘You've got to be kidding me.' It was unanimous. The captains, they couldn't have been any more fired up about it."

***Tom Hammond will be doing the play-by-play for NBC while Pat Haden will provide the analysis. Alex Flanagan will be the sideline reporter. The telecast starts at 3:30 PM.

***The longest winning streak in this series is Notre Dame's 11 victories in a row between 1983-93.

***Boston College held the ball for 39:03 in the win last Saturday. It was the most for an opponent in the Weis era and the highest since 1991, when Penn State held the ball for 39:47.


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