If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A (Mini) USC Notes Column

Are you excited about the USC-Notre Dame game?

It’s a great road trip even if USC is awful. Don’t let the Trojans’ 3-3 record spoil it.

This week, there was a list of the five greatest USC-Notre Dame games by Athlon. Frankly, it was a pretty bad list, with the 1929, 1948, 1978, 1986 and 2005 games selected. The 1986 game was decided by a late field goal by John Carney to give Notre Dame a 37-35 victory but there was nothing really at stake.

Athlon left out the best part of the 1948 game, which was a 14-14 tie. As the final gun sounded, an earthquake rocked the Coliseum that was felt from Colorado to Mexico.

The 2005 game was a classic, and the best stadium atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. But why did Athlon’s omit these games?

  • 1931:  A 16-14 USC victory in last minute. More than 300,000 attended a ticker-tape parade in Los Angeles to celebrate the Trojans’ victory. USC won the national championship that season.
  • 1974: 55-24.  At one point in first half, it was 0-24. USC scored 55 unanswered points. Another national championship season for the Trojans.
  • 1964: 20-17.  At halftime, USC trailed 17-0.  Notre Dame entered the game unbeaten and ranked No. 1.

USC linebacker Ernie Pye walked through a plate-glass window at the team hotel dining room, cut his heel and missed the game.

“O.K., fellows. Ernie’s given us the idea for today,” John McKay said. “We’ve got to crash their glass.”

Notre Dame fumbled in the third quarter at the USC 9-yard line and then had a holding penalty on a 1-yard TD run.

Those plays kept USC within striking distance and set up one of the most memorable plays in USC history as quarterback Craig Fertig found wide receiver Rod Sherman on fourth-and-8 with 1:43 left for the game-winning TD.

The celebration was muted later that night when USC found out the faculty representatives of the Athletic Association of Western Universities curiously voted for co-champion Oregon State to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl.

USC was 7-3. Oregon State was 8-2. The USC argument was it played a tougher schedule. The Trojans defeated then-No. 2 Oklahoma, lost to then-No. 2 Ohio State and beat No. 1 Notre Dame.

The Beavers had beaten then-No. 8 Syracuse and No. 10 Oregon.

“So far as I am concerned, this is one of the rankest injustices ever perpetrated in the field of intercollegiate athletics,” USC athletic director Jess Hill said.

  • If you are in South Bend on Saturday, I recommend stopping by the only tailgate right next to Notre Dame Stadium. It’s also the only tailgate gate in the Stadium Parking Lot, right behind the Frank Leahy gate. Tell them Scott Wolf sent you.
  • Every local news channel on Thursday night reported from the Row on the reports of sexual assaults at the Sigma Nu house. It’s the latest scandal for USC, which had gone about a week without something embarrassing taking place.

It will be interesting to watch Carol Folt handle this because it didn’t happen before she became president like so many other mishaps that have been in the news.

  • USC is cracking down on students going to the roof of the Seeley G, Mudd building, which apparently has become a rite of passage. It’s the tallest building on campus and has a helipad and great views. My favorite story involving the rooftop was when Pete Carroll sent a staffer up to the top with mannequin and told the team the staffer caught a UCLA spy watching practice.
  • The team, which was at Howard Jones Field, watched the staffer wrestle the mannequin. The staffer shocked the team by throwing the mannequin off the roof.
  • But the the better part is the mannequin nearly hit a unsuspecting student walking below. It probably could have killed the student. The things Carroll got away with in those days . . .

67 thoughts on “If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A (Mini) USC Notes Column

    1. Another great Friday piece by Scott. So great, in fact, it ALMOST has me pumped up for Saturday.
      [I’ll get into it for REAL if USC decides to play defense when and if they get behind]…..

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I’d put this post by Scottie among his 10 best in the last few years. First rate, including info, remembrances from the past, and insight.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Yep. Since Scott’s return, it’s like InsideUSC has entered a new season —let’s call it “The New Adventures of Scott Wolf.” Today’s was the best episode of the new season.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Don’t get too hyped MG. USC is definitely going to get their asses kicked. Unless, that Dart kid is healthy. He provides a punchers chance if healthy but on the other hand he is a turnover waiting to happen at this point of his young career.


      4. Dear F. U.
        At this point I wouldn’t mind seeing turnovers if they were matched by TD’s — let it all hang out, play with hair on fire …


  1. In 64 I was 9 years old, but I remember my parents being outraged that the conference would send anyone other than USC to the Rose Bowl. My passionate parents are the reason I root for USC today (or in this case Saturday)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. OK…..maybe SC is not a great team right now. Get the right coach and all that will change. Go after Fickell with everything you have. Make him tell you no. There is no reason to not go after him. He doesn’t have any baggage like Meyer. If he tells you no then you pursue your 2nd, 3rd and 4th option. I would take a look at Mel Tucker from Michigan State. He’s been a DC for 11 years at 5 different schools or pro teams. He certainly has the background. But that’s only if you can’t get Fickell.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve not mentioned Mel Tucker, as he has a huge contract with MSU.
      But you’re correct. He’s a top-notch (former SEC) defensive-minded coach.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. He’s not a pro coach who has never coached at the college level. He’s like Pete Carroll who has coached at both levels extensively. I’d definitely look at him but Fickell is still my first choice. I’m interested to see how they do against Michigan on the 30th.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read some posters yesterday just bashing the shit out of Slovis.

    Do any of you realize the shitty coaching that kid has had ?
    The shitty OL he’s played behind ?
    The absolute shittiest OC and game planner, caller etc ever ?

    The kid has regressed, no doubt, but he’s been hurt, concussed and now has ONE good WR instead of 3 or 4 to throw to, no running game because the OC won’t run the ball and an OL that sucks. I still think he’s hurt or never fully recovered from his shoulder injury and when the new coach arrives, he’ll be out as a starter. Is it all his fault ? I wonder.

    Do any of you even think how many QB’s Gomer ruined or was on his way to ruining ?

    Daniels sure looks better away from Gomer. Darnold ran for his life. Dart would have been a fucking mess had Gomer been allowed to “coach” him for long.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Spirit of McKay, right you are.

      FWIW, a friend of my wife’s family trains QBs (and trained the ND kid), and he knows Kurt Warner well. He told me (before the season) that Slovis was really well-trained by Warner to read defenses, and has a high football IQ, but that the connection that a QB needs with their QB coach and O-coordinator is flat out missing at USC, and that they are not all on the same page. He also indicated that Slovis had a bunch of mechanical problems with his throwing last year, compensating for a loss of arm strength, particularly when he had to throw the ball on a line.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. A great summary of my posts, Coach McKay–admittedly with a tad saltier language. Thanks.

      With some decent coaching by Harrell and Colbert, this crew should show some maturity and improvement in the next 6 games. Having Bru on the field would have helped.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. To Slovis defense … he would be a 4th team walk on a real USC team. This is what Gomer did to the program. He didn’t know a good football player from a cheeseburger.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Looking at how he has regressed, Kurt Warner has to be the only reason he was successful his first year. With Warner no longer near and only Helton and “just throw it to green grass” Harrell offering “coaching”, he ain’t the same guy.

      Good fucking riddance dumbasses.


    5. Slovis arm is shot. There is no zip on her passes. Slovis can’t take a hit, she plays scared. Slovis has no mobility. She’s a bust.


  4. Three of the five greatest USC-ND games of all time missed by the Athlon list are the three consecutive 31 point victories over the Fighting Irish (2002, 2003, 2004).


    Liked by 4 people

  5. The season is a wash, so I won’t be emotionally involved with the game, but I’ll watch it anyway. The only thing that gets me excited about anything pertaining to USC football, is the coaching search.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I was at that 1964 ND vs USC game as a junior in high school (Magnolia High School, Anaheim). I was offered a scholarship by Coach McKay in the SC locker room after the game. My High School Coach, Tony Ortega, played at USC in the late 50’s with Jon Arnett. He Showed me the USC campus and the Coliseum before the game.. After the Game, it was complete pandemonium and excitement in the SC locker room. I was very impressed, to say the least! I knew then, that I wanted to play football for USC.
    It turned out well for me, 4 Rose Bowls,1 National Championship, 32-2-2 record for my four years at SC, including my Undefeated Freshman football team. I was honored to be chosen Captain of that team and Captain of the !969 “Wild Bunch Team” as a Linebacker. Great memories! Thank You Coach Ortega and Coach McKay!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Dr. Bob,
      It must kill you to see the present state of the football program when you were a major contributor to those glory teams. How did we fall so far?!?! I think a competent coach can make things whole again. I just don’t think Dolt, the BOT, and the AD can come up with a good solution to anything, let alone the hiring of a good coach.

      Liked by 4 people

  7. my brother and I were in closed end, end zone seats in ’64 where the TD pass came;I was pretty hoarse after that,no more yelling for me. It was a huge upset and down 17-0

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Tim — I should mention that my brother and I went down on the field [no Special Event folks anywhere to be seen) where I threw a miniature football to him in the endzone right before the players came on the field for USC’s 51 -0 defeat at the hands of Notre Dame…

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Perspective is everything. From our side, the 1977 game and the 1973 game would be in the top 5. This year, I stand by my very early season prediction of an easy ND win. Some of you responded that your O line and D line was much improved, but it does not appear so. I think 28-17 is about right. And to further burst your bubble, i heard one of the national radio shows say that Fickell is not likely to take the USC or LSU job. He is content and is now joining the Big 12. He would consider the ND job!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 28 -17 Notre Dame is possible. Maybe even probable. But USC 35, Notre Dame 34 is NOT inconceivable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Michael, to get 35, in the absence of tons of turnovers by the Domers, I think we are looking at a USC offense that needs the following:

        35 rushes for 170 yards
        Slovis 24 of 35, 280 yards, at least 2 TDs, 1 pick at most, no fumbles

        That would do it.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. If Slovis throws 2 picks in first quarter (like he did against Oregon when he turned into Shelly Winters playing the nervous wife in A Place in the Sun) we are officially gonna get screwed worse than we’ve ever been screwed….
        But I don’t see it. I think he’ll play well…

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Mel Tucker from Michigan State. He’s been a DC for 11 years at 5 different schools or pro teams …. that is not a good thing. We have had our fill of SucKiffer type clowns.


    1. Tucker’s CU Buffs team almost beat the Trojans in Boulder the one time they played.
      Took a last second TD for the Trojans to keep the streak alive.

      You have no idea how shambolic is the CU Buffs Football program.
      1 winning season in the last 13 or more.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. A USC-ND game in South Bend will not be the same with Scott not attending this year’s game. In the famous Bush Push game he was right there on the sideline when Leinart crossed the goal line.

    Scott is a legend USC should pay his way to the game on Saturday.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Bottom line:
      UCLA football 0 wins
      ND football 4 wins

      The Bruins have scored 35 points in those 4 losses to the Irish, however, including 17 in one game!

      If memory serves me correctly, Stanford has regularly beaten the Domers both at home and in South Bend and put up some epic scores vs ND.

      I’m also aged enough to recall that game which Adrian Dantley put up to end the Bruin (88 games or so) BB winning streak.

      Thanks for teein’ it up JO. We love having you around.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. P. S.
        I didn’t know about the stuff you guys alluded to ….but, if that’s the case, Owns is one Strong Dude…..he’s endured a lot and he’s still in the game… big time….

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Great column today Scott – my favorite USC vs Notre Dame game is the 1974 game at the Coliseum down 24-0 (you right why that is not in the top 10 list) and the Bush Push at Notre Dame in 2005 – FIGHT ON!!! BEAT THE IRISH!!!

    Liked by 3 people


    Scott Wolf to be the new SID to replace the retiring Tim Tesselone in January.

    The Wolfman would not put up with any BS from Carol Folt, and Mike Bohn nor the USC Coaches.

    No one knows SC better than Scott. Perfect Job for Scott who truely loves USC, and should be rewarded for his hard work in covering USC athletics for so many years.

    We need a real person in the SID position not a robot who only follows commands the top at SC.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Would Brian Kelly leave ND and take the SC position if offered the job? Living as long as he has in South Bend, IND, and what more can he accomplish at ND with such high expectations. Solid football coach, and great leader. If Luke Fickle says no………..Kelly should be our 2nd choice.

    I have a feeling he is a hidden candidate to be the next head coach at SC. He build the program at Cincy, and has done a good job at ND.

    Might be time for a new challenge and if not the NFL USC might be the perfect fit, and a way to get out of living in South Bend. Might be easier to finally win a national championship at SC.


  14. 1967 was a pivotal year. SC won in South Bend, with Adrian Young picked off some passes. It made the world realize that SC could compete against ND and was a national powerhouse.

    Liked by 1 person


      Liked by 4 people

      1. We talked earlier in the week about how several of us became aware of the game (in my case, reading that SI edition that I retrieved dumpster diving in a church refuse container)…best edition of SI ever for me… Bob Gibson and Lou Brock en route to winning WS over BoSox…Raiders-Jets AFL rivalry previewing their championship game a year later…Warren McVea and the rise of African-American athletes in college football (of interest particularly to me since I grew up in Kansas City and McVea, along with Mike Garrett, was a running back on the Super Bowl IV champions…but most importantly, you and your mates conquest in South Bend en route to a national championship…54 years later, we still salute you!

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Anthony’s look-alike brother was an attorney at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office while I was there. Great guy…and a born trial attorney.
      I watched him do his first trial and the guy was so savvy & relaxed it was unreal.


  15. I am puzzled about this quarterback we have. I keep thinking he is the worse of all USC quarterbacks, am I wrong? What am I missing here?


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