The story goes that college football’s greatest intersectional rivalry began when Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne’s wife convinced her husband to play USC regularly starting in 1926. From 1928-32 the winner of the game won national championships and between 1962 and 1977 each won three national titles (with USC also winning a split title in the coaches poll in 1974).
Top-ranked Notre Dame comes into Saturday’s game in Los Angeles leading the series 43-35-5, but the Irish have only beaten Southern California once since 2001.
Here are some of the memorable games:
First Game: Notre Dame backup quarterback Art Parisien threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to John Niemiec with 2 minutes to go to give the Irish a 13-12 victory in the inaugural game. The game was the first regular-season West Coast trip for the Irish two seasons after playing in the Rose Bowl.
Big Crowd: An estimated 120,000 fans, including 99,573 paying customers, crowded into Soldier Field in Chicago to see the Trojans face the Irish. Ray Dahman caught a touchdown pass and kicked the extra point and the Irish won 7-6 after a controversial call when an official ruled an apparent safety for USC was an incomplete pass.
Fourth Quarter Rally: USC scores all its points in the final quarter, capped by a 33-yard field goal by Johnny Baker with 1 minute left, as the Trojans won 16-14 for their first victory in South Bend. The loss ended a 27-game winning streak by the Irish and was the first loss at Notre Dame Stadium, which opened a season earlier, and just the second home loss for the Irish since 1905. USC won its second national championship.
Failed Fake: The game was a scoreless tie late in the first half when top-ranked Notre Dame (8-0) attempted a fake punt on fourth and 22 in its own territory and failed. That set up a 36-yard touchdown pass from Ollie Day to Al Krueger with 5 seconds left in the half, giving the eighth-ranked Trojans a 6-0 lead en route to a 13-0 win before 97,146 fans. The Trojans were the only team to score more than a touchdown against the Irish all season.