Notre Dame dominates USC at home in bounce-back win

NOW: Notre Dame dominates USC at home in bounce-back win

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame beat the University of Southern California Saturday night, 48-20 in the 94th meeting between the two teams.

The Irish got it done in all three facets of the game, scoring on offense, defense and special teams.

Defensively, the Irish racked up six sacks and safety Xavier Watts led the team with two interceptions, one forced fumble, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

"I couldn't speak more highly of the performance of our defense and the way Coach Golden prepares. Got a lot of respect for him. I know Xavier Watts had some crazy stats," head coach Marcus Freeman said.

"Obviously came off the loss from Louisville, so just kind of angry from that. I mean, big rivalry game. Just wanted to come out and dominate and play as best you can," Watts said.

Notre Dame got the scoring started early with a long touchdown drive and never looked back, holding a 24-3 lead going into the halftime break.

The closest that USC was able to close the gap was when they made it 31-20 off of a seven-yard touchdown pass with just over nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

Notre Dame would respond with a kick-return touchdown to extend their lead and hold on to it.

Audric Estime pushed the offense forward throughout the game, scoring two rushing touchdowns and tallying 95 yards rushing on the ground.

The ball-hawk ND secondary snatched three interceptions on the night from former Heisman quarterback Caleb Williams. Prior to Saturday’s game, Williams had only thrown one interception in six contests.

Sam Hartman was quiet but efficient on the day, putting up just 126 yards through the air, but two touchdown passes on 13 completions.

"It's special for me. I hugged Coach Freeman after and I was like, I finally did it. Really our defense did it. I mean, I threw the ball is couple times," Hartman mentioned.

The QB didn't have to work hard in his first matchup against the storied rivalry against USC, in the 94th meeting between the two teams.

"It'll be a special moment for me and I'm excited to get back in the locker room. Just to see the fans and the support we get continuously and the walk and just the football culture here, I hope it never changes. If I'm blessed to have kids I hope I can bring them back and they play a highlight," Hartman added.

ND will now go into the bye week at 6-2 and will face Pittsburgh in two weeks on Saturday, Oct. 28.

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