Notre Dame vs. USC final score: Irish likely to face SEC champ in national title game

Jeff Gross

No. 1 Notre Dame survived several late pushes by USC to walk away as the nation's only BCS-eligible unbeaten team. They'll await the SEC Championship Game to see who they'll likely play in Miami.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are now 60 minutes away from their first national championship in decades, topping USC, 22-13, in Los Angeles. Entering the year, many had expected the Trojans to be on the other side of this, but here we go.

Late-game gaffes by Lane Kiffin will be remembered as one of the key stories of this game, with a self-icing of a USC touchdown and some hideous goal line calls sure to catch years worth of second-guessing. Here was their last real chance at points:

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But the Irish dominated on both sides of the ball, other than a couple big throws from Max Wittek, and made this one of their most convincing wins of the season. They outgained the talented Trojans offense by 159 yards and forced a pair of turnovers.

Manti Te'o will likely go to New York next as a Heisman Trophy candidate, while the play of freshman Everett Golson over the year and tonight is one of many reasons Brian Kelly's Irish program looks built to find sustained success.

Through hideous wins against Pitt and Stanford and tough road trips to Norman and Los Angeles, Notre Dame has emerged, and they'll next play on Jan. 7 in a game that might involve like 10 total points. Still!

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