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Trojans to the Irish: Thou Shall Not Pass

College football: USC gets four interceptions and holds Notre Dame to 94 yards in air in 10-0 victory.

November 29, 1998|From Associated Press

Without quarterback Jarious Jackson, Notre Dame tried to beat USC with the bare semblance of a passing attack.

The Trojans simply wouldn't allow it.

Chad Morton rushed for 100 of his 128 yards in the second half, and the USC defense was at its best as the Trojans beat the No. 9 Fighting Irish, 10-0, Saturday night.

It was the first time USC (8-4) has blanked Notre Dame since a 25-0 decision en route to the national championship in 1962.

The Trojans scored their 10 points on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter. The Irish (9-2), whose hopes for a bowl championship series appearance were snuffed out, couldn't overcome the absence of Jackson, who accounted 1,740 of the team's 1,775 passing yards previously.

And the five turnovers Notre Dame committed--four on interceptions--were crippling.

Jackson was sidelined because of the knee injury he suffered in the waning seconds of Notre Dame's 39-36 victory over LSU last weekend.

Notre Dame didn't complete a pass until freshman Arnaz Battle threw a 28-yarder to Malcolm Johnson with 4:47 left in the third quarter.

Battle threw the third Irish interception on the next play, being picked off by Rashard Cook, who also intercepted Battle's pass at the USC 14 midway through the fourth quarter.

Battle and Eric Chappell combined to complete seven of 22 passes for 94 yards, with the four interceptions. Autry Denson, Notre Dame's career rushing leader, was held to 46 yards in 19 carries.

The win was the third in a row for USC over Notre Dame after the Irish went 12-0-1 against the Trojans from 1983-95.

The game was scoreless until freshman quarterback Carson Palmer scored the first touchdown of his career on a two-yard bootleg.

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