The Fighting Irish narrowly beat out the Trojans 14-10, but USC really beat themselves in the end. They racked up 11 penalties for 95 yards. And of those 11 penalties, 10 fell on the offensive line. So for this week's breakdown, I caught up with the o-line to see what they think went wrong and how they plan to turn it around against Utah.
"We have to get better as a team and be more disciplined. Seven of those are holding calls on the offensive line and three are false starts on the offensive line, that falls on us," said captain Marcus Martin. "We take full responsibility, we're not running away, we're not shy."
It was a tough loss for the Trojans, amplified even more by the historic rivalry in South Bend. USC came out strong but couldn't execute in the second half. Something the o-line says they are taking full blame for.
"We take responsibility," said Martin. "We did not score in the second half, and that falls on the offense. We need to keep working and get out points up."
"That's true, we need to do a better job of keeping our hands on the inside," said Max Tuerk. "We have a lot of things to work on this week."
The offensive line is a very young unit. Martin, just a junior, is leading as a captain. And starter Tuerk and Chad Wheeler are just a sophomore and a redshirt freshman. According to Wheeler, their age helps to bring the unit together.
"It means that we get to experience it together, we get to play against the best, and we have to get more because we need more experience," said Wheeler.
Wheeler went on to say that the unit pushes themselves even harder to make up for their inexperience, putting in extra reps after practice. And it's that effort on the field that brings them together.
And while it's not Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, the unit says they like to bond off the field with some brisket at Coach Mike Summers' house. The o-line will look to bounce back this weekend against an up-tempo Utah that upset Stanford just a few weeks ago.