Shortly after the hour hit zero Saturday, the Yankee Stadium crowd began chanting: "Beat SC! Beat SC!"
Everyone knows what happened next to Notre Dame – and that the playoff place is at stake.
"Our people know who they are playing," coach Brian Kelly said whinyly.
First, here are three takeaways from a 36-3 victory that was so dominant, Syracuse coach Dino Babers admitted afterwards he was unsure of the final score.
1. The players will take the right approach.
USC is 5-6. Notre Dame is 11-0. But don't expect the Irish to be arrogant. They have never beaten the Trojans on the road since 2012, and 2014 losses and 16 are not close. And this is a very mature Irish team.
"They like to play together," Kelly said. "That is the brotherhood they have built. Look, most trainers will tell you that if you go into a locker room and you see a group of people who gather together and care for each other, you might get a good thing. That does not guarantee you will win 10 games. But that guarantees you might be doing some very good things at certain times. "
A trip to Los Angeles would mean a little extra for the Quarterback Ian Book, who is from the Sacramento area but has a family in Southern California.
"We are all excited to play in some good weather," he said.
Receiver Chase Claypool plays Xbox with USC receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, the younger brother of Equanimeous, was arrested at Notre Dame.
"It won't be bad blood, but it will be very competitive," Claypool said. "Many men come here so they can defeat SC."
One brief history lesson: In 1996, Notre Dame was 8-2, ranked 10th and a big favorite towards the use of the season at USC. Troy is 5-6 and coach John Robinson is in the hot seat. "We will not be flat," promised Lou Holtz. "This is a Southern Cal match. Enough said. "
They are flat. And partly because of losing late points, Ireland lost 27-20 in extra time. It turned out that it was Holtz's last match at Notre Dame.
Nothing was promised.
2. Books are difficult to read.
Notre Dame's quarterback was so cold that when asked how his life had changed since becoming a starter eight weeks ago, he replied, "Not much."
Kelly said Book was a little rusty against Syracuse after sitting outside of Florida State's game with a rib injury, mistaking some of these throws. Book hits at 23 from 37 to 292 meters. The only obvious carelessness came after he tripped over a linner's feet and threw one into the final zone when he fell. It was taken.
"On the soccer field, I haven't seen it shaken," Kelly said. "He is really strong. Taking information, processing it very well. "
Then Kelly told this story: The book lost weight during the winter after its first season. As a penalty, his group is in danger of losing points. So he put a 10-pound plate in his shorts.
Matt Balis, performance director of Notre Dame football, arrested him and made him run.
Kelly couldn't believe it, told Book: "I mean, like, an 8-year-old child does that."
"He will hate what I tell you," Kelly said. "But he was confused that day … that's the only time I saw him shaken."
3. The back of the defense is extraordinary.
Only seven FBS teams beat Syracuse before Saturday. The Orange surpassed 400 past yards against North Carolina and the North State and went for 250 against Clemson. Notre Dame held them to 115, 53 of which came on their last meaningless drive.
Safety Alohi Gilman interrupted two passes, producing a game ball.
"He is in the whole field," Kelly said. "The game is contagious because he is also extraordinary in a special team."
Babers said the defense of Notre Dame turned the game from chess into chess, simplifying the combination of routes that confused other teams.
"We call many passing combinations where everyone is closed," Babers said.
USC is a decent graduation team. Beginner Quarterback JT Daniels illuminated UCLA for 337 yards, becoming 20-for-34, at Trojans, 34-27 on Saturday.
"We are very happy," said Cornerback Julian Love, Notre Dame's all-time leader in terminating employment. "This is my favorite time of the year. Thanksgiving is coming and we are ready for one final battle in the regular season. "
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