Two of the nation’s most storied college football programs—No. 24-ranked USC and No. 25 Nebraska—will face off in the Holiday Bowl for an ESPN prime-time post-Christmas contest. Troy, one of the nation’s premier bowl teams, has won two-thirds of its 48 bowl appearances (including 7 of the past 8) and played in 13 different bowls, but this will be the Trojans’ first-ever Holiday Bowl visit. Nebraska, which has won half of its 50 bowl appearances, will be making its fourth Holiday Bowl trip, including its third since 2009.
Complete Media Release (pdf) | Holiday Bowl Guide (pdf)
The No. 24-ranked USC football team has been selected to play in its first-ever National University Holiday Bowl when it faces No. 25 Nebraska in San Diego on Saturday, Dec. 27. The 37th Holiday Bowl will kick off at 5 p.m. PT in Qualcomm Stadium and the Pac-12-versus-Big Ten matchup will be shown live nationally on ESPN. The Trojans are 8-4 overall and finished tied for second in the Pac-12 South Division at 6-3 under first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian. The Cornhuskers went 9-3 and tied for second in the Big Ten West Division at 5-3, but head coach Bo Pelini was dismissed after the conclusion of the regular season and he was replaced by former Oregon State head coach (and one-time USC assistant) Mike Riley. Interim head coach Barney Cotton will coach Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.
Cody Kessler passed for 372 yards and threw two of his six touchdown passes to George Farmer, leading Southern California to a 49-14 victory over Notre Dame in the 85th edition of the intersectional rivalry Saturday. Adoree Jackson, Darreus Rogers and Nelson Agholor also caught TD passes in a dynamic first half for the Trojans (8-4), who jumped to a 35-0 lead in the second quarter. USC easily reclaimed the Jeweled Shillelagh after two straight losses to the Irish, piling up 577 yards against Notre Dame’s injury-plagued defense. With Kessler’s second-half scoring throw to Randall Telfer, Notre Dame yielded six touchdown passes for the first time in the program’s 127-year history.
AP Recap | Final Stats | Photo Gallery | Post Game Presser
USC welcomes Notre Dame to the Coliseum on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend for the 86th rendition of the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football.
Both teams, with identical 7-4 records, are looking to bounce back from tough losses last week and get it position for the post-season. It is USC’s 1,200th football game. The Trojans have lost just 3 times in their last 12 meetings with the Irish, but those losses all came in the past 4 seasons, including the last 2 seasons and the last 2 times the game was in Los Angeles. This is only the 12th time that neither team has been ranked going into the game (Notre Dame holds the upper hand in those meetings). For the first time ever, FOX will broadcast the USC-Notre Dame game. USC head coach Steve Sarkisian should be wary: only 2 Trojan coaches have won their debut games against the Irish. The contest is a battle between schools with perhaps the country’s most glorious gridiron heritages. The winner gets year-long possession of the jeweled Shillelagh. Both teams have faced Stanford (close wins) and Arizona State (stunning losses) this year. It is the 50th and 40th anniversaries of USC’s famous comeback victories over Notre Dame in 1964 and 1974 (USC A.D. Pat Haden, who spent 12 years handling color on Irish telecasts, was a Trojan hero in the 1974 game,).
USC Media Release (pdf)
Brett Hundley passed for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns and rushed for another score, leading No. 9 UCLA past No. 19 USC 38-20 on Saturday night for the Bruins’ third straight victory in the annual crosstown showdown. Devin Lucien, Thomas Duarte and Eldridge Massington caught scoring passes as the Bruins (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) confirmed their Los Angeles supremacy and closed in on the Pac-12 South title with a one-sided romp over their biggest rivals at a festive Rose Bowl.
AP Recap | Final Stats | Photo Gallery | Post-Game Presser