SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A number of Trojans were peeved that Notre Dame didn't use its three timeouts late in the fourth quarter in an attempt to force the Trojans to get first downs or a score.
USC got the ball with 6:43 left in the game and had Curtis McNeal run the ball 10 straight times to end it, getting all the way to the Notre Dame two-yard line before time expired. With two-score margins, teams typically use all of their timeouts to force their opponents' hands, but Irish coach Brian Kelly chose not to, evidently.
"At the end there, when they didn't call those timeouts, they just quit," USC linebacker Chris Galippo said. "And that's what Notre Dame football's about. They're not anything like USC."
Galippo has a history with Notre Dame. He has often mentioned, during his USC career, his official visit to Notre Dame as a prep, when he came along with Jimmy Clausen and felt virtually ignored by then-coach Charlie Weis and his staff, and he'd kept that moment with him throughout his college career and used it as motivation Saturday.
"We're coming halfway across the country to play these guys," Galippo said. "They hyped it up. This was their Super Bowl. They had 26 or 27 official visits this weekend.
"This was it for them."
Running backs Marc Tyler and Curtis McNeal, among others, also said they got the sense that Notre Dame didn't want to keep playing as McNeal ran the clock out late with short runs. After USC called a timeout with 2:41 left and the Irish didn't call one after their next run, it was clear the game was over.
"That's what happens when you beat them down," Tyler said. "We wore them out. They didn't want to play no more.
"We out-physicaled them and beat them down."
Galippo and Tyler are both fifth-year seniors; they won't play Notre Dame again in their lives. But statements like those will be referenced well into the future of the USC-Notre Dame rivalry.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin also played into it with the constant refrain that Saturday's game was Notre Dame's Super Bowl but not the Trojans', referencing the Irish's apparently easy schedule the rest of the season.
Both teams will play Stanford later this season -- USC at home, Notre Dame on the road -- but the Irish play Navy, Wake Forest, Maryland and Boston College for their four other games. The Trojans will play Colorado, Washington, Oregon and UCLA.