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Saturday, October 17, 2009
Halftime review: USC 13, Notre Dame 7



Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Quick review of the first half at Notre Dame Stadium, where USC leads the Fighting Irish 13-7.

Best call: Notre Dame's fake field goal in the first quarter. USC never saw Robby Parris hiding on the sideline, and holder Eric Maust passed to him for a 25-yard gain. The Irish scored their only touchdown on the next play.

Stat of the half: The Irish have just 121 total yards, including only 47 passing yards by Jimmy Clausen.

What Notre Dame needs to do: Give Clausen more time. The Notre Dame offensive line has had trouble slowing down four- and even three-man rushes from USC. Clausen has little opportunity and even fewer open targets.

What USC needs to do: Other than being more alert for fake field goals, USC needs to run the ball more effectively. The Trojans have broken off some big runs with Joe McKnight and Allen Bradford, but they've gotten stretched out when they near the red zone. They need to keep pounding Notre Dame in those situations to set up the play-action pass for Matt Barkley.