NO. 1 NOTRE DAME 22, USC 13 BOXSCORE
Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals as top-ranked Notre Dame secured the chance to play for the national title with a 22-13 victory against USC on Saturday night. The Irish (12-0) completed their first perfect regular season since 1988, earning a trip to Miami on Jan. 7 to play for the storied program’s first national championship in 24 years — but it wasn’t without a tense fourth-quarter series. For four consecutive plays in the waning minutes, Notre Dame’s defense was backed up to its 1 with its perfect season in peril. And on four consecutive plays, USC got nothing. “Well, that’s who we are,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “It’s been our defense all year. Our offense is able to manage enough points.” On Saturday night, it was Brindza who bailed out the offense, scoring 16 points while hitting five of six field-goal attempts (including a season-best 52-yarder) and booting a PAT.