USC Trojans junior offensive guard Damien Mama was the most used player on the roster heading into Saturday's finale against Notre Dame. Besides being a mainstay at guard, Mama plays on multiple special teams units. Against UCLA he did what no other Trojan had done this season, he played over 100 total snaps.
If Mama was fatigued from playing so much, it didn't show Saturday afternoon in the Coliseum. Despite the rain and wind Mama and the Trojans dominated the Fighting Irish 45-27.
"It was one of the craziest games I have played in the Coliseum and it was just a lot of fun," Mama said after the game. "The atmosphere was great, loving the fans, it was awesome. The fans were great and it was just a real good game against a great opponent. We sent off the seniors right."
While USC dominated on the scoreboard, the offense struggled at times against a tough Notre Dame defense.
"I am not really sure [what was wrong], there were a couple hit or miss plays," Mama said. "We were just taking one play at a time and I can't really explain what happened, but we got a win so that was good."
On the positive side the offense was balanced with 207 yards rushing and 205 yards passing and no turnovers. Moving the ball with the run and the pass and avoiding major mistakes was the plan, especially considering the difficult weather conditions.
"Definitely, that is what we wanted to do," Mama said. "Like against UCLA, we wanted to have full control over the ball. That is something we wanted to do against a real good team. We know that their record didn't show how good of a team they really were and we knew we had to try and play perfect on offense.
"They have a lot of good players. Definitely some NFL guys they have on their front seven. So we knew we were going to come in and be challenged because like I said, their record doesn't reflect how they play."
When things were not working out on offense, USC was able to score in other ways. A punt return for a touchdown, a kick return for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown really helped to take some pressure off the offense.
"Those really pump up the crowd," he said. "Our coach likes to say execution fuels emotion and that is what it basically was. It fired up the team and gave us some momentum throughout the game and we were able to carry it to come out with the win."
Before the game we asked Mama to compare the rivalry with UCLA to the rivalry with Notre Dame.
"I don't like both of them, I don't like either team," he said. "It's a rich tradition. I wouldn't say there is much of a difference. There has been great history between both teams and they are always good games to look forward to. It is an honor to be able to play in a game like that. Playing for guys who traveled on trains to South Bend, it's a blessing to keep a rivalry going like that and just having fun out there. Both teams I want to get a 'W' against. I have a lot of friends that go to UCLA, but throughout recruiting I have friends who go to Notre Dame too. It's a lot of fun playing against guys that I know and have been recruited with."
After the big win against Notre Dame Mama was extremely happy to now have wins over both rivals.
"It is just awesome that we got the Shillelagh and the Victory Bell back home, It's just awesome. It's a way to send the seniors out and going undefeated in the Coliseum, that has to be one of the best feelings."
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates from USC's win over Notre Dame.