LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Carson Palmer and Southern California taught Notre Dame a lesson, and it might be an expensive one.
Palmer passed for 425 yards and four touchdowns as sixth-ranked Southern California exploded for 27 points in the second half and routed the seventh-ranked Fighting Irish, 44-13.
Southern California rolled up 610 yards against a Notre Dame team that ranked fourth in the nation in total defense with Palmer posting the highest passing total ever by a Notre Dame opponent. Steve Walsh threw for 424 yards in 1988.
"Everybody said Notre Dame didn't have a weakness on defense, but we definitely found some," Palmer said. "I can't explain how I feel right now. It's amazing. After all we came through, to end up like this is great."
The Trojans (10-2) rolled to their seventh straight win and made a strong case for an at-large berth in the Bowl Championship Series.
"We hope they realize we're a BCS-worthy team," said USC coach Pete Carroll, who is 14-3 after losing five of his first seven games. "They need to know we're for real now. I hope everyone was paying attention and saw the score. The decision is now in their hands."
USC also can clinch the Pac-10 Conference title and a trip to the Rose Bowl if Washington State loses to UCLA next week.
Notre Dame (10-2) was certain to land a BCS bowl berth with a win on Saturday and with it a payoff of between $11 million and $14 million. The Fighting Irish, due to their national appeal, could still be chosen for an at-large berth, but Saturday's lopsided defeat did not help their case.
"Yes, I can make a case to the BCS," Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham said. "We played 12 games. We won 10 of them. We've been a very good and very sound team. This game is not a true indicator of what type of team we can be. Now we have to be patient and wait for someone to make a decision."
Notre Dame tackle Jordan Black felt differently.
"After the way we played, we don't deserve to play in the Orange Bowl," Black said. "This wasn't this year's team, it was last year's team."
Palmer completed 32-of-45 passes in his final college home game and his favorite target was freshman Mike Williams, who caught 10 passes for 169 yards, including TD passes of six and 19 yards.
Palmer also continued his late push for the Heisman Trophy. In his last six games, Palmer has thrown for 2,006 yards and 23 touchdowns. He has helped the Trojans score 30 or more points in seven straight games for the first time since 1972.
Playing in his final home game, Palmer also passed Cade McNown of UCLA as the all-time Pac-10 Conference offense leader with 11,314 yards.
Justin Fargas paced the Trojan rushing game, carrying 20 times for 120 yards.
Notre Dame could manage a mere 109 total yards, with Ryan Grant limited to 16 yards on 10 carries.
"We respected our opponent by bringing our best today," Trojan safety Troy Polamalu said. "We played hard all four quarters. We had a balanced attack."
Quarterback Carlyle Holiday had a long night, completing just 10-of-29 passes for 70 yards and throwing three interceptions.
The Trojans broke open the game in the third quarter on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to Malaefou MacKenzie and field goals of 27 and 29 yards by Ryan Killeen that made it 30-13.
Sultan McCullough had an 11-yard touchdown run and Palmer completed a 10-yard TD pass to MacKenzie in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
"He's a great talent and he made some great plays tonight," Carroll said of Palmer. "You'll be seeing a lot of him in the NFL on Sundays."
Notre Dame led 6-0 after one quarter on field goals of 34 and 32 yards by Nicholas Setta.
The Trojans found their stride early in the second quarter, marching 93 yards in eight plays, capped by a six-yard TD pass from Palmer to Williams.
A 44-yard pass from Palmer to Williams set up a 22-yard field goal by Killeen that made it 10-6.
Notre Dame took its final lead at 13-10 when Carlos Pierre-Antoine returned his own blocked punt 27 yards to make it 13-10 with 67 seconds left in the quarter.
The Trojans had no intention of sitting on the clock and Palmer connected on a 19-yard TD pass to Williams with five seconds left.
The second quarter included a bizarre sequence in which three interceptions were thrown in a span of four plays. Holiday was intercepted for the first time in 127 attempts when Darrell Rideaux picked him off.
Palmer followed with his first interception in 147 attempts, throwing the ball right at linebacker Mike Goolsby in the end zone. The Trojans' DeShaun Hill soon followed with an interception of Holiday.
USC defeated Notre Dame for the first time in four meetings.
The Trojans have won nine straight games at Los Angeles Coliseum, their longest since a 10-game run in 1987 and 1988.