Charles Phillips' interception has stopped an Irish drive. Haden connects with McKay for a 44-yard touchdown pass. Kick good as the third period ends. USC 41-24.
After Bruce makes his second fumble recovery, Haden hits Shelton Diggs in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. Kick good. Just 17 seconds gone in the fourth quarter. USC 48-24.
Irish Quarterback Tom Clements tries a long pass. Phillips makes his third interception of the day and returns it 58 yards for a touchdown, holding the ball aloft for the last 20 yards. Kick good; 1:44 gone in the fourth. USC 55-24.
In just under 17 minutes USC had scored eight touchdowns and 55 points, the dazzling Davis had accounted for 26 of them, Haden had completed eight passes in eight attempts for 144 yards and four touchdowns, McKay had caught four passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, Phillips had intercepted two passes and returned them 83 yards, Bruce had recovered two fumbles and Parseghian had contemplated hara-kiri with a yard-line marker.
Up in the press box Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes was doing the color commentary for ABC television. He is the only top coach to have a winning edge over McKay, and his Buckeyes will meet the Trojans once again on New Year's Day in the Rose Bowl. After the eighth touchdown Saturday, the USC rooting section chanted, "Woody, you're next!"
With some 13 minutes still to play, the Trojans had conquered Ireland, but before they could roll over Austria, Poland and Denmark, McKay pulled out his first string and let Quarterbacks Vince Evans and Rob Adolph finish out the game. McKay seldom shows any emotion on the sideline. Train the binoculars on him when an entire stadium is erupting in cheers, boos or hiccups and he usually will be calmly pacing back and forth like a commuter waiting for the 7:14 or standing with his arms folded across his chest like a bored spectator at a street-corner political rally. But when his son came off the field with Haden and Davis for the last time in the fourth quarter, none of them measuring more than six feet tall or weighing more than 183 pounds, he hugged them all at the same time.
"There have never been three smaller kids who have done so much so often," he told them.
It was the second-straight clutch performance on national TV for Davis (he gained 195 yards from scrimmage against UCLA the week before), but it probably came too late to win him the Heisman Trophy. Ballots for that award had to be in the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City by Tuesday, Dec. 3, and it is likely that most of them were mailed before Saturday's game and that most of them named Ohio State's Archie Griffin. Perhaps there should be a recount after the two of them match footwork in Pasadena Jan. 1.
But trophies and bowl games were not the prime issue Saturday in the latest episode in what McKay the Elder calls "the greatest intersectional series in college football." The Irish-Trojan war has been raging since 1926, and the two teams make a habit of knocking each other out of national championship contention. It has happened at least eight times. The rivalry is made a little more interesting because USC, founded by Methodists but now non-denominational, has a large Catholic enrollment. In fact, McKay is an Irish Catholic, while Parseghian is an Armenian Presbyterian.
USC, fourth in the UPI poll and sixth in the AP, was favored by four points over Notre Dame, ranked fifth by both wire services. USC was 8-1-1 while Notre Dame was 9-1 and it figured to be just the rugged defensive battle that McKay envisioned. He predicted "fierce hitting on both sides" and on that point he was correct. It was just that Notre Dame did all the hitting in the first half and USC did it all in the second.