October 13, 2019 / 3:19 AM / a month ago

Book, No. 9 Notre Dame survive USC rally

EditorsNote: Edit 1: Recast 10th graf and split it, other fixes

Oct 12, 2019; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly walks into Notre Dame Stadium before the game against the USC Trojans. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Book passed for 165 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 49 yards and another score as No. 9 Notre Dame fended off visiting USC’s rally for a 30-27 win Saturday night in South Bend, Ind.

Cole Kmet and Braden Lenzy also scored touchdowns for Notre Dame (5-1), which won its 15th home game in a row. Tony Jones Jr. led a dominant ground attack with 25 carries for 176 yards.

True freshman Kedon Slovis completed 24 of 35 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns for USC (3-3). Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns each hauled in a touchdown pass from Slovis, and Markese Stepp had a rushing touchdown.

Notre Dame outgained USC by a 473-426 margin, including a 308-171 advantage in rushing yards.

USC led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter thanks to a 40-yard field goal by Chase McGrath.

Notre Dame responded with two touchdowns and a field goal in the second quarter to grab a 17-3 halftime lead.

Kmet started the rally when he hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Book with 8:37 left in the second quarter. Less than four minutes later, Lenzy scored on a 51-yard rush down the left sideline.

Jonathan Doerer hit a 45-yard field goal just before halftime, and then connected from 52 yards to push Notre Dame’s lead to 20-3 early in the third quarter.

USC responded on the following possession with its own field goal, a 27-yarder by McGrath.

The Trojans trimmed the deficit to 20-13 on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Slovis to St. Brown with 2:34 left in the third.

St. Brown, whose brother Equanimeous starred for Notre Dame before being drafted by the Green Bay Packers, scored on a play-action pass.

Notre Dame answered with a 43-yard field goal by Doerer to make it 23-13 with 13:47 to play.

USC continued its comeback bid by pulling within 23-20 with 10:27 remaining. Slovis lofted a 5-yard touchdown pass to Vaughns, who hauled in the ball along the right side of the end zone.

Slideshow (41 Images)

The Fighting Irish created some breathing room on an 8-yard rushing touchdown by Book with 3:33 to go. He tucked the ball and sprinted up the middle to cap a 14-play, 75-yard drive.

USC fought back yet again. Stepp scored from 2 yards out on a second-effort rush to make it 30-27 with 1:04 left, but the Irish recovered the ensuing onside kick.

—Field Level Media

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