USC and Notre Dame play this coming Saturday for the 89th time in what is widely regarded as college football’s greatest intersectional rivalry.
The two schools have a combined 13 Heisman Trophy winners, more than any other rivalry. In fact some of the greatest games in Heisman history have taken place between the Trojans and the Fighting Irish.
Here’s a breakdown of the how Heisman winners from each school have fared in this fall classic during their Heisman-winning seasons:
Notre Dame 38, USC 7
There were 104,953 on hand for this one, the highest attendance for a football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Heisman winner John Lujack quarterbacked the 8-0 Irish to a romp over the Rose Bowl-bound, 7-0-1 Trojans. Notre Dame’s roster also included 1949 Heisman winner Leon Hart. That Irish squad finished 9-0, won the national title and is considered one of the great college football teams of all time.
Lujack in action:
Notre Dame 32, USC 0
Leon Hart scored the game’s first TD a 40-yard reception as the No.1 Irish blanked the No. 17 Trojans. Notre Dame went on to yet another national title. There were three Irish in the top eight of the Heisman vote that year: Hart the winner, quarterback Bob Williams in fifth and halfback Emil Sitko in eighth.
Highlights of the 1949 USC-Notre Dame game:
Notre Dame 48, USC 14
John Lattner scored four touchdowns — a USC opponent record — to lead the No. 2 Irish to a drubbing of the No. 20 Trojans.
USC 28, Notre Dame 20
The unranked, struggling Irish and Heisman winner Paul Hornung gave it a good effort but fell to the No. 20 Trojans. Notre Dame finished 2-8, making Hornung the only Heisman winner ever to come from a losing team. Hornung, who had two dislocated thumbs, moved to left halfback (from quarterback) against SC and scored on a 95-yard punt return. ‘Jaguar’ John Arnett of USC placed 10th in that year’s Heisman vote
USC 20, Notre Dame 17
One of the great comebacks in the series saw unranked USC rally from a 17-0 halftime deficit to defeat unbeaten, No. 1 Notre Dame, 20-17. Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte threw a touchdown pass to Jack Snow (fifth in that year’s Heisman vote) in the first half and guided the Irish on two other scoring drives, but he was stymied in the second half. Trojan tailback Mike Garrett, the 1965 Heisman winner, played a key role in this game, which was decided on a 15-yard TD pass from Craig Fertig to Rod Sherman with less than two minutes to play. Huarte still went on to win Notre Dame’s sixth Heisman.
Here are highlights of the game, narrated by Curt Gowdy:
Notre Dame 28, USC 7
The Irish got revenge for the ’64 upset, holding Garrett to 43 yards on 16 carries. Garrett went on to win USC’s first Heisman Trophy.
USC 21, Notre Dame 21
This time it was the No. 1 Trojans who had their perfect record spoiled by Notre Dame. O.J. Simpson was held to 55 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries by a fired up Irish defense in one of the most-watched games in history. Simpson was USC’s second Heisman winner.
USC 42, Notre Dame 23
Charles White rushed for a career-high 261 yards and four touchdowns as the Trojans overwhelmed the Irish in South Bend. Notre Dame tailback Vagas Ferguson finished fifth in the Heisman vote that year. White was USC’s third Heisman winner.
USC 14, Notre Dame 7
The Irish did a great job containing Marcus Allen, all things considered, holding USC’s fourth Heisman winner to a season-low 147 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries.
Notre Dame 26, USC 15
Tim Brown scored on a 5-yard run and totaled 109 all-purpose yards in the meager 10 times he touched the ball. He would go on to win Notre Dame’s seventh Heisman.
USC 44, Notre Dame 13
Carson Palmer set Notre Dame opponent records with 425 yards and four touchdown passes as the Trojans bulldozed the Irish in a battle of top 10 teams. Palmer won USC’s fifth Heisman.
USC 41, Notre Dame 10
The Trojans beat the Irish by 31 points for the third straight year as Matt Leinart threw for 400 yards and five touchdown passes. Leinart went on to become USC’s sixth Heisman winner.