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Notre Dame breaks skid vs. USC with 20-16 win

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    Quarterback Tommy Rees led the Irish's game-winning drive.
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LOS ANGELES » Robert Hughes scored on a 5-yard run with 2:23 to play, and Notre Dame rallied to snap an eight-game losing streak to USC with 20-16 victory last night.

Freshman quarterback Tommy Rees overcame four turnovers to lead bowl-bound Notre Dame’s decisive 77-yard go-ahead drive in the final minutes of its first win over USC since 2001.

The Irish weren’t safe on a cold, rainy night at the Coliseum — even after USC’s Ronald Johnson dropped a long pass from Mitch Mustain at the Notre Dame 15 with 1:17 to play and no defender within 10 yards of him.

Mustain, making his first USC start in place of injured Matt Barkley, shook off the drop to move the Trojans (7-5) to the Notre Dame 23, but safety Harrison Smith intercepted a poor throw at the goal line with 36 seconds left.

Rees passed for 149 yards in his third career start, making huge mistakes but also throwing touchdown passes to Michael Floyd and Duval Kamara. Floyd had 11 catches for 86 yards on his 21st birthday for the Irish (7-5), who won three straight to close coach Brian Kelly’s first regular season.

"We just played tough football," Kelly said. "Then when we needed a drive, our guys responded."

The Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando is expected to be the Irish’s postseason destination, but the Las Vegas Bowl also showed up to scout Notre Dame.

Washington 16, California 13

Chris Polk scored on a 1-yard run as time expired, and the Huskies (5-6, 4-4 Pac-10) denied the Bears (5-7, 3-6) bowl eligibility while keeping their own postseason hopes alive.

Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who threw an earlier 80-yard touchdown pass, was stopped on consecutive sneak attempts on second and third down from the 1 before Polk came through.

Indiana 34, Purdue 31, OT

Ben Chappell had a record-breaking day for Indiana, and Mitch Ewald booted two short field goals late, giving the Hoosiers (5-7, 1-7 Big Ten) a victory over the Boilermakers (4-8, 2-6) to win back the Old Oaken Bucket.

It’s the first time since 1996 that Indiana has won on Purdue’s home field.

Kansas State 49, North Texas 41

Daniel Thomas rushed for a career-high 269 yards and the Wildcats (7-5) rallied past the Mean Green (3-9).

Kansas State fell behind 20-7 before taking a 21-20 lead into halftime. The Wildcats then scored twice early in the third quarter.

Texas Tech 35, Houston 20

Taylor Potts threw for 373 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Red Raiders (7-5) over the Cougars (5-7).

Potts completed 32 of 46 passes and threw an interception.

 

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