If the weight of the biggest Notre Dame game in a generation was weighing on redshirt freshman quarterback Everett Golson, he wasn’t showing it.
Golson and the Irish offense marched all over USC in the first quarter of Saturday night’s showdown at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, taking a commanding 10-0 lead over the Trojans and moving to within 45 minutes of the national championship game.
Golson finished the quarter 7-of-8 for 100 yards, leading two impressive drives. The Irish sprinted 62 yards five plays to open the game, but sputtered in the red zone, settling for a 27-yard Kyle Brindza field goal. On the next drive, the Irish marched 87 yards in 12 plays, capped by Theo Riddick’s 9-yard touchdown run. On each of the two drives, the Irish had four plays of at least 11 yards.
In between the two long Irish drives, USC freshman quarterback Max Wittek got his chance to back up his bold talk all week. But after four runs to start the game — and two first downs — Wittek threw three straight incompletions, including a beautiful deep ball to Marqise Lee that traveled 60 yards in the air before Bennett Jackson broke it up in the end zone.
Wittek’s second drive — still ongoing at the quarter break — went much better, as he completed all four of his passes. A face mask call against ND on the last one has the Trojans at the Notre Dame 11 to start the second quarter.