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Rapid Reaction: Notre Dame 22, USC 13

Allan Joseph | Sunday, November 25, 2012

LOS ANGELES – Notre Dame is going to the national championship game. The No. 1 Irish (12-0) defeated archrival USC 22-13 behind a stalwart defensive performance and a gritty effort by senior running back Theo Riddick. Notre Dame will face the winner of the SEC championship game between No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia in Miami on Jan. 7.

The good: Riddick had a dominant performance on the ground, the defense contained an explosive Trojan passing attack and senior linebacker Manti Te’o bolstered his case for the Heisman Trophy with another interception. Oh, and Notre Dame capped off an undefeated regular season. 

The bad: The Irish had a number of drives sputter in the red zone and turn into field goals instead of touchdowns. That will be a focus during the 40-plus days leading up to the title game.

What we learned: Notre Dame is beyond back – it’s playing for a national title.