Nationals

Fighting Irish and Trojans: The best of a rivalry

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Fighting Irish and Trojans: The best of a rivalry

The story goes that college football's greatest intersectional rivalry began when Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne's wife convinced her husband to play USC regularly starting in 1926. From 1928-32 the winner of the game won national championships and between 1962 and 1977 each won three national titles (with USC also winning a split title in the coaches poll in 1974).

Top-ranked Notre Dame comes into Saturday's game in Los Angeles leading the series 43-35-5, but the Irish have only beaten Southern California once since 2001.

Here are some of the memorable games:

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1926

First Game: Notre Dame backup quarterback Art Parisien threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to John Niemiec with 2 minutes to go to give the Irish a 13-12 victory in the inaugural game. The game was the first regular-season West Coast trip for the Irish two seasons after playing in the Rose Bowl.

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1927

Big Crowd: An estimated 120,000 fans, including 99,573 paying customers, crowded into Soldier Field in Chicago to see the Trojans face the Irish. Ray Dahman caught a touchdown pass and kicked the extra point and the Irish won 7-6 after a controversial call when an official ruled an apparent safety for USC was an incomplete pass.

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1931

Fourth Quarter Rally: USC scores all its points in the final quarter, capped by a 33-yard field goal by Johnny Baker with 1 minute left, as the Trojans won 16-14 for their first victory in South Bend. The loss ended a 27-game winning streak by the Irish and was the first loss at Notre Dame Stadium, which opened a season earlier, and just the second home loss for the Irish since 1905. USC won its second national championship.

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1938

Failed Fake: The game was a scoreless tie late in the first half when top-ranked Notre Dame (8-0) attempted a fake punt on fourth and 22 in its own territory and failed. That set up a 36-yard touchdown pass from Ollie Day to Al Krueger with 5 seconds left in the half, giving the eighth-ranked Trojans a 6-0 lead en route to a 13-0 win before 97,146 fans. The Trojans were the only team to score more than a touchdown against the Irish all season.

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1947

Battle of Unbeatens: Top-ranked Notre Dame (8-0) faced No. 3 USC (7-0-1). Emil Sitko broke the game open with a 76-yard touchdown run and Bob Livingstone added a 92-yard score as the Irish clinched the national championship with a 38-7 victory.

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1948

The Tie: Bill Martin scored on a 4-yard run with 2:30 left to give USC a 14-7 lead against the second-ranked Irish, who had won 21 straight but had turned the ball over seven times against the Trojans. Notre Dame's Bill Gay returned the kickoff 87 yards to the USC 12 to set up a 1-yard run by Emil Sitko that tied the game at 14 with 35 seconds left. At the time, there was no two-point conversion.

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1964

The Upset: The top-ranked Irish (9-0) were upset by Southern California (6-3) when Craig Fertig completed a 15-yard TD pass to Rod Sherman with 1:33 left as the Trojans rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit to win 20-17. The Irish finished the season ranked No. 3 in posting their first winning season since 1958.

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1966

Parseghian's Payback: Two years after being upset by USC, Notre Dame returned to Los Angeles ranked No. 1 with an 8-0-1 record a week after its famous 10-10 tie with Michigan State. The Irish beat the Trojans 51-0 and won the national championship.

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1972

Six Touchdowns: Anthony Davis scored six touchdowns, two of them on kickoff returns, and broke five school records as the Trojans beat Notre Dame 45-23.

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1973

Streak Ends: Eric Penick scored on an 85-yard run, Bob Thomas kicked three field goals and the Irish defense held Anthony Davis to 55 yards rushing to win 23-14 and end USC's winning streak at 23 games. The Irish went on to win the national championship.

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1974

The Comeback: Notre Dame opened a 24-0 lead and held a 24-6 lead at halftime. But Anthony Davis scored on the second-half kickoff to ignite a 35-point third quarter and USC won 55-24, scoring all its points in 17 minutes. USC finished the year ranked No. 2 by The Associated Press, but the coaches awarded them the national championship.

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1977

Green Jersey Game: The 11th-ranked Irish, led by quarterback Joe Montana, warmed up in their regular blue jerseys, but came out for the game wearing green jerseys for the first time since 1963 and the Irish cruised to a 49-19 victory over the fifth-ranked Trojans. Irish basketball coach Digger Phelps suggested wearing the green to coach Dan Devine to inspire the Irish. Notre Dame won the national championship.

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1986

Commercial Break: Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein threw four touchdown passes and a pair of two-point conversions for the Irish, who rallied from a 17-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to win 38-37. The Irish won on a 19-yard field goal by John Carney as time expired. The national-television audience missed seeing the game-winning kick live because CBS went to a commercial.

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1988

No. 1 vs. No. 2: The only time in the series the two teams met ranked No. 1 vs. No. 2. Tony Rice scored on a 65-yard TD run, tailback Mark Green scored twice on short runs and USC turned the ball over four times as top-ranked Notre Dame beat second-ranked USC 27-10. The Irish were without leading rusher Tony Brooks and top receiver Ricky Watters, who were suspended and sent home after being 40 minutes late for Friday night's team meal. The Irish won the national championship.

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1996

Overtime: USC's Brad Otton threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Rodney Sermons in overtime to give USC a 27-20 victory, allowing the Trojans to avoid their third losing season in 35 years. The loss cost Notre Dame a berth in a major bowl and ended Lou Holtz's tenure as Notre Dame coach with a 100-30-2 record.

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2005

Bush Push: Notre Dame came up just short of stopping USC's winning streak at 28 games. Reggie Bush pushed Matt Leinart to help him score the winning touchdown with 3 seconds left, giving the Trojans a 34-31 victory.

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Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

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USA Today

Nationals power through rain delay, come back against Phillies

WASHINGTON -- Daniel Murphy's two-run single drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6 on Sunday night to salvage the finale of the three-game series.

Anthony Rendon homered and doubled, Bryce Harper tied a career high with three doubles and Michael A. Taylor and Murphy each had three singles in a game that was delayed 38 minutes by rain in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams homered for the Phillies, who had won three straight.

Pinch hitter Brian Goodwin led off the eighth with a walk against Victor Arano. With one out, right-hander Seranthony Dominguez (1-2) came on to face Harper, who doubled to right, with Goodwin stopping at third.

After Rendon grounded out, Juan Soto was intentionally walked and Murphy lined a 1-2 pitch to shallow right. Taylor's single made it 8-6.

Ryan Madson (2-3) pitched the eighth inning, and Sean Doolittle finished it for his 21st save.

The Phillies took a 6-2 lead in the fifth on a two-run triple by Odubel Herrera and a two-run homer by Williams.

Washington pulled within a run at 6-5 in the sixth with four two-out hits, including an RBI triple by Trea Turner and RBI doubles by Harper and Rendon.

Nick Pivetta went five innings and allowed two runs on eight hits for the Phillies.

Washington starter Jefry Rodriguez was charged with four runs and five hits in four-plus innings.

The Phillies broke on top on Hoskins's two-run homer in the third.

Rendon made it 2-1 with a solo homer in the fourth. The next three hitters singled, tying the game, but with the rain intensifying, out came the tarp. When play resumed, Pivetta struck out three straight to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: C Andrew Knapp left in the seventh with a right knee contusion. ... 3B Maikel Franco slipped on first base and fell hard in the eighth. He stayed in to run, but left after the half-inning. ... INF Jesmuel Valent?n was placed on the paternity leave list and OF Dylan Cozens (left quadriceps strain) was reinstated from the 10-day DL.

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) allowed 11 runs in 4 2/3 innings of a rehab start at Class A Potomac on Sunday. "I'm more concerned with the way he feels," manager Dave Martinez said, downplaying the results. "We'll go from there." ... RH reliever Brandon Kintzler (right forearm flexor strain) threw a scoreless inning at Potomac. ... RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) played catch on the field again. "We'll keep doing his throwing progression and figure out when he can actually throw from the mound," Martinez said.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.82) starts the opener of a series against the Yankees on Monday. He is 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in two games vs. New York.

Nationals: RHP Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.08) opens a series at Tampa Bay on Monday. He is 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA in six games against the Rays.

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Jay Gruden wants excellent play from Alex Smith, but he also expects personal responsibility

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USA TODAY Sports

Jay Gruden wants excellent play from Alex Smith, but he also expects personal responsibility

As June minicamp concluded, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden pulled no punches when asked about expectations for new quarterback Alex Smith. 

"He has got to get it down by the first game," Gruden said of Smith. 

While that might not sound overly demanding, remember this is Smith's first season in Washington. The QB will be playing with new teammates and implementing new terminology. 

Still, Smith is a veteran with a lot of experience, and frankly, it seems like Gruden isn't worried about a transition period. 

"We are not in here to build the team around him, the team is built and he has to lead it like right now," the coach said. "This isn’t a two- or three-year process. This is a one-year process and we have got to win right away."

Gruden made things quite clear. He expects the best from Smith, yesterday. 

Those comments created headlines, but there was something else the coach said about his passer that also stood out. Asked about Smith's veteran presence, Gruden talked about what the quarterback might mean for his teammates. 

"The whole job a quarterback has is obviously getting the most out of the people around you. That’s what I think he does as good as anybody," Gruden said. "He’ll get the most out of the tight ends. He’ll get the most out of the backs."

The coach continued, and things got a bit more interesting.

"He’ll get the most out of the receivers and offensive line because they’re going to want to play for him and they’re going to feel confident that he’s going to make something happen in a positive way or at least give it everything he’s got and take responsibility if something doesn’t work out."

Redskins fans are often a weirdly divided bunch. Many liked former QB Kirk Cousins but plenty did not think he was worth the type of money he was paid the last two seasons. Along the way, some fans will read Gruden's comments about making something happen and taking responsibility as a jab at Cousins. That's probably wrong. 

Remember, Trent Williams played through a serious knee injury last season. Asked why, Williams said he wanted to be out there to protect Cousins. Guys played for Cousins. 

The responsibility comment might mean something else, though. Their was a rather hostile back-and-forth last season between Gruden and Cousins last season, when the QB and coach disagreed about taking more risks with the football. A quick reminder of the scene: Cousins told a reporter that he would throw 20 interceptions if he played like Gruden wanted. The coach responded that while the interceptions might pile up, the QB would also throw 60 touchdowns. (Relive it here)

Throughout his career, Smith has thrown less interceptions than Cousins. But that doesn't mean Smith doesn't take risks or put his receivers in position to make plays. 

It's entirely possible Gruden simply expects Smith, a veteran, to be a responsible player and leader. And it's likely that comment had nothing to do with the Redskins previous quarterbacks. 

The bottom line is that Smith better be ready to go Week 1, and his coach made that clear. And if Smith isn't, Gruden expects his quarterback to take responsibility. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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