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Saturday, October 22, 2011
End of third: USC 24, Irish 10

By Matt Fortuna

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Just when it looked like things were going Notre Dame's way, an injury and a return case of the yips proved devastating for the Irish.

Seven plays after Tommy Rees went down with an apparent right leg injury, Dayne Crist fumbled a snap at the USC 1-yard line, resulting in an 80-yard touchdown the other way courtesy of Jawanza Starling.

In the blink of an eye, a potentially tied game swung to 24-10 USC, and the Irish now find themselves in an uphill battle as the fourth quarter gets underway.

The good news? What looked at first like a potentially bad injury to Rees proved to be nothing, as the sophomore was back in on the Irish's next drive. Still, the end of that drive has to be heartbreaking for Crist, who completed 4 of 5 passes before his fumble and had Notre Dame moving.

Right now, 15 minutes stand between the Irish and any hope of a BCS bowl bid being crushed.