Looking Back at the Historic USC vs Notre Dame Rivalry

Football, NCAAF, CFB, NFL article at Knup Sports

USC and Notre Dame have one of the most historic rivalries in all of college football, as they are set to face off on Saturday, October 23. Read this article as we look back at the history between the two schools.

The USC vs Notre Dame rivalry in college football stems back multiple decades. They have played a total of 91 games against each other with the Fighting Irish leading the all-time series 47-36-5. The two schools are set to square off on Saturday, as the Trojans will look to close the gap on the all-time record that Notre Dame currently holds.

Let’s take a deep dive into the longstanding competition between these programs.


According to a number of reports, the origin of the rivalry stems from a discussion in the mid 1920’s between the wives of the head coach of Notre Dame and the athletic director for USC. The story states that the wife of the USC athletic director convinced the wife of the head coach for Notre Dame that playing in Southern California was worth it because of the sunny weather.

She then convinced the head coach that Notre Dame should play USC, and thus began the history of the two playing one another.

The first game was played in 1926, with Notre Dame narrowly defeating USC 13-12. Since then, we have seen both programs grow and become legendary in the college football world. Despite all of the championships and success, it is difficult to find a matchup that the fans get more excited for than when the two face off.

Domination by Decade

During the 1930’s, the matchups were fairly even. Both teams won their fair share and the games always seemed to be competitive.

Notre Dame won the majority of their affairs during the 1940’s, including a dominating victory of 38-7 in 1947 in front of over 104,000 fans at the Coliseum. From 1960 through 1982, the Fighting Irish and Trojans developed into college football juggernauts by winning a combined 8 national championships. Despite their competitive nature with another, a mutual respect was formed between the two powerhouses due to their overall greatness.

Following 1982, the Fighting Irish went on to win 11 consecutive battles between the teams. USC finally broke Notre Dame’s winning streak with a victory in 1996. During the late 90’s, the teams were even once again and both won multiple times against each other.

In 2002, the Trojans decided it was their turn to run the table, and they went on to win 8 consecutive games against Notre Dame. Following a Fighting Irish victory in 2010, Notre Dame was the better of the two during the 2010’s in head-to-head matchups.

What’s at Stake

With this upcoming game in 2021, a new decade has begun and these teams both want to dominate each other. Although this may not seem like a huge contest on paper, the rivalry will hold up and USC and Notre Dame will do anything possible to defeat one another on Saturday.

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