Trojans do the talking after pummeling Irish

After saying all the right things all week, USC lets loose after 31-17 win at Notre Dame.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – When you win, you get to talk.

Redshirt seniors Marc Tyler and Chris Galippo exercised that privilege Saturday night at Notre Dame Stadium after USC throttled Notre Dame, 31-17, and it will stick with the Irish for at least the next year.

"They just quit," Galippo said. "That's what Notre Dame football is about. They're not anything like USC. I just love the way our team prevailed and put together a complete game today."

"We wore them out," Tyler added. "They didn't want to play no more."

The Trojans (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) said all the right things ahead of college football's greatest intersectional rivalry, downplaying the fact they weren't ranked and 8.5-point underdogs, but the reality was far different.

USC played with a chip on its shoulder and players recounted every slight.

"They get to choose their schedule," Galippo said of Notre Dame (4-3). "They chose when they wanted that bye. They chose to make this a 7:30 p.m. game. They hyped it up."

Even in the electric atmosphere that came with the first night game since 1990, USC worked through it and set a tone on the opening drive, as Tyler carried six times for 38 yards.

The 13-play, 66-yard march was capped by Matt Barkley's two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Randall Telfer.

USC finished with a season-high 219 yards rushing, including 118 by redshirt junior Curtis McNeal.

"It felt good to establish the run on those first couple drives," Tyler said. "We hit them in the mouth early. They were supposed to be the physical team. We were supposed to be the team that couldn't run the ball according to Lou Holtz. We had to come out here and show them."

Tyler didn't look like he would be able to play, let alone start, after dislocating his shoulder at California. Barely able to lift his arm last Sunday, coaches and players never doubted he would follow through on his promise to redeem himself after a disappointing effort in last season's 20-16 loss to Notre Dame.

He finished with 67 yards on 13 carries.

"It's just one of those games you can't sit out," said wide receiver Robert Woods, who caught 12 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns. "Whatever you're battling, you got to battle through it."

The defense also embodied that motto, forcing three takeaways, none more critical than the 80-yard fumble return by safety Jawanza Starling as Notre Dame was threatening to tie the game late in the third quarter.

Quarterback Dayne Crist, who came in briefly after starter Tommy Rees tweaked his knee, botched the snap at the USC 1-yard line, was unable to fall on the ball, allowing Starling to scoop it up and score a back-breaking touchdown.

"I was just thinking like I can't get caught. I'm going to run until I can't run no more," Starling said. "It's a big deal, coming out and silencing the crowd on a big play like that when they had momentum."

"I was just yelling at everyone to stay off the field cause it reminded me of the (Utah) game earlier in the year," said Barkley, who threw for 224 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. "We were on fire man. That was a huge turning point, really a game-changing play to get that momentum back because they were creeping back."

Barkley became just the fourth quarterback to win multiple starts at Notre Dame, and USC has now won five in a row in South Bend.

So what was Tyler planning to do as he headed for the team bus?

Call his old Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian teammate and former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen, of course.

"I'm going to call him right now," Tyler said. "He told me to call him after the game."

As is the winner's right.


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