SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Brandon Wimbush passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more, Josh Adams added three touchdown runs and No. 13 Notre Dame took advantage of three turnovers by No. 11 Southern California to win 49-14 on Saturday night.
The Fighting Irish (6-1) turned all three USC turnovers into touchdowns, giving them their first victory against USC (6-2) when the Trojans were ranked since a 38-10 victory in 1995. The turnovers came on a fumble and interception by Sam Darnold and a dropped punt by Jack Jones.
Adams had an 84-yard touchdown run and finished with 191 yards on 19 carries. Wimbush ran for 106 yards on 14 carries as the Irish amassed 377 yards on the ground.
Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush breaks through the Southern California defense as he scrambles during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
It was the fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season for Adams, quickest to 2,000 rushing yards in Notre Dame history at 316 carries. It took George Gipp 323 carries to set the mark. It was the third 100-yard rushing game for Wimbush, coming back from missing a game with an injured right foot.
Wimbush still wasn’t sharp passing, completing 9 of 19 passes for 120 yards. But he came up with key passes when needed.
Linebacker Te’Von Coney, starting because Greer Martini injured his knee during the bye week, got the Irish going on a strip-sack of Darnold on USC’s first play from scrimmage after Darnold bobbled the snap. Wimbush threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Equanimeous St. Brown three plays later. The Irish led 28-0 at halftime, Notre Dame’s second-largest ever in the 89-game series.
Darnold completed 20 of 29 passes, but could not overcome the turnovers or USC being held to 76 yards rushing, including minus-4 in the first half. He threw two touchdown passes, the first cutting Notre Dame’s lead to 28-7.
USC: The Trojans continue to shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers, with 19 on the season. Darnold is responsible for all but three. USC can still win the Pac-12 title, but a playoff berth appears nearly impossible.
Notre Dame: The Irish, just a season removed from an embarrassing 4-8 season, showed they deserve to be back in the national discussion and kept alive their hopes of ending a 29-year title drought.
USC: A second straight loss will drop the Trojans, the question is whether the blowout loss will drop them all the way out.
Notre Dame: The Irish, whose only loss was by a point to No. 3 Georgia, have a chance to move into the top 10.
The Irish have held their opponent to 20 points or less in every game this season as USC running back Ronald Jones II’s streak of 13 straight games with a touchdown came to an end.
USC: The Trojans play at Arizona State.
Notre Dame: The Irish face another ranked opponent in No. 16 North Carolina State.
More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org
Notre Dame wide receiver Kevin Stepherson (29), defended by Southern California cornerback Isaiah Langley (24) catches a 23-yard pass for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold throws during the half of an NCAA college football game against Notre Dame, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush throws during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Southern California, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold (14) bobbles a high snap before fumbling during the first half of an NCAA football game against Notre Dame, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Southern California coach Clay Helton talks with the referee during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Notre Dame, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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