Quarterback Matt Barkley did not back away from assertions by his USC teammates that Notre Dame quit in the final minutes of their game Saturday in South Bend, Ind., although the Trojans did later apologize for the statements on Monday.
"I would agree with that," Barkley said on Monday during an interview with Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley on 710 ESPN. "I was shocked that they didn't use the (fourth-quarter) timeouts because we got on the field with ... about seven minutes left, and I thought they were planning on stopping us and saving their timeouts for the end when they had the ball.
He added: "It seemed from our sideline and our perspective that they did give up. It seemed uncharacteristic of Notre Dame. I wouldn't have wanted to have been on that sideline."
At issue was the lack of timeouts taken by the Irish at the end of the fourth quarter. USC, leading 31-17, took possession with 6:43 left and Curtis McNeal ran it 10 consecutive times, getting all the way to the Notre Dame 2-yard line before time expired.
"At the end there, when they didn't call those timeouts, they just quit," USC linebacker Chris Galippo said Saturday. "And that's what Notre Dame football's about. They're not anything like USC."
After USC called a timeout with 2:41 left and the Irish didn't call one after the Trojans' next run, it was clear the game was over.
"That's what happens when you beat them down," running back Marc Tyler said Saturday. "We wore them out. They didn't want to play no more. We out-physicaled them and beat them down."
Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said after the game that Notre Dame treated the contest like its Super Bowl and USC didn't and said Sunday he was "shocked" the Irish didn't use their timeouts late in the game. But, on Monday, he apologized for his players' comments.
"On behalf of our football program, I apologize for Chris Galippo's statements after the game. I've addressed this with Chris and he is remorseful," Kiffin said in a statement issued after Barkley's comments. "I've also called (Notre Dame) coach (Brian) Kelly to personally apologize. As I said to the media immediately after the game, I thought Notre Dame played extremely hard throughout the game.
"It was another classic rivalry game and we feel fortunate to have won."
Galippo, a fifth-year senior who considered attending Notre Dame out of high school, also apologized for his comments on his Twitter account, which the school posted on its official website.
"If I offended anyone with my postgame comments Saturday, I do apologize," Galippo wrote in the tweet. "I have a great respect for their players and their program."
During his Sunday teleconference, Kelly did not agree that his team wore down defensively but would not engage in a battle of words.
"I don't know if that's the case," Kelly said. "To the victors go the spoils. I think we probably would have said the same thing last year. Again, how we evaluate our players, we didn't play the kind of football we wanted to play."
Barkley, who threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns against the Irish on Saturday, also discussed his standing in the Heisman Trophy race, and why he's not often mentioned alongside quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford, Russell Wilson of Wisconsin and Kellen Moore of Boise State as a contender.
"I think you've got to put Robert Woods up there too," Barkley said of his favorite Trojans target, who has 72 receptions for 902 yards and eight touchdowns this season. "I think at the end of this year, if we continue to have successful offensive games like we've had recently and then we're asking that same question, then I'll start wondering why, but as of now, I'm not worried. ... Nothing really matters right now unless we finish strong."
Information from ESPNLA.com's USC blogger Pedro Moura and ESPN.com's Notre Dame blogger Matt Fortuna was used in this report.