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Nothing Like Beating USC – Kory Minor

Oct 22, 2013, 12:36 PM EDT

Kory Minor, a California native, led the Irish defense for four seasons at the linebacker position

Former Notre Dame football linebacker Kory Minor (@KMine4) recaps the play of the Irish defense each week. Minor, a four-year member of the football squad, went on to the NFL for a few years and is currently traveling the country speaking at colleges, universities and corporations on leadership and the concept of winning. Minor’s first book, “Make a Touchdown of Your Life” was recently released. You can order the book and keep up with Minor’s speaking at 

As many of you know, I am from Southern California and currently residing in California so playing against USC always has been a big deal. Not only for the obvious reason that USC is in my backyard but also for the fact that, truth be told, they were the first school to recruit me as a sophomore in high school. Anytime the Irish get a victory over the Men of Troy it usually sets the weekend and week off to a great start for me!

What another exciting and fun game!  Watching the offense move right down the field on its opening drive was impressive, to say the least. All cylinders seemed to be running well and we looked like the Irish that many of us have come to love.

Then it was the defense’s turn. Immediately, as I watched USC and its offense drive down the field going 100% on first downs, I was a bit nervous. I thought to myself that there was no way we could have regressed after the ASU victory. But then I remembered that ND had a bye the previous week. Most coaches will tell you that after a bye week, it is likely that a team might start the game a bit sluggishly. At least I was hoping that was the case…

Fast-forward to the second half and boy oh boy! Our ND defense was superior, as it played physical upfront; our secondary was sound and effective.

It was great to see Stephon Tuitt come into his own after a slow start, but even more impressive was to see the defense as a whole gain momentum no matter who was in the game. It has been said over and over that defense wins championships and our defense on Saturday, particularly in the second half, was very dominant.

To win at the collegiate level there must be three things that always take place: First, a defense must win the third downs, period. Second, a defense must force turnovers. Third, a defense must be physical at the point of attack. The Irish accomplished all three of these things this past weekend and it was quite impressive.

The true character of a defense is measured in the fourth quarter when there are only three-to-five minutes to go and when your team has the lead. As our offense was stagnant after the departure of Tommy Rees, our defense stepped up remarkably, causing USC to be ineffective on third downs and taking up rent in USC’s backfield, and secured an ND victory.

There is nothing like beating USC, especially at home and in front of more than 80,000 Irish faithful.  A great win Notre Dame and another great opponent this week as the Irish face Air Force.

Until next week, GO IRISH!!!

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