Notre Dame’s first-year coach Bob Davie did the almost unthinkable Saturday when he ripped into Irish fans following USC’s 20-17 victory at Notre Dame Stadium.
“When you play at home, you like to have some help from the crowd,” Davie said. “You need the crowd to help you win it late in the game.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame fans booed when Davie inserted embattled quarterback Ron Powlus back into the game after reserve Jarius Jackson had run a play on a short-yardage situation.
“When you focus on a player, it diminishes the team and the player they are aimed at,” USC coach John Robinson said of the boos.
After that statement, Robinson felt compelled to offer some support for the beleaguered Davie, who is 2-5 in his first season at Notre Dame.
“Bob Davie will win 100 games in his career at Notre Dame,” Robinson said. “I’ll bet on it.”
USC starting wide receiver Mike Bastianelli was suspended for the game for a “university-related ethics issue,” according to a university spokesperson. The matter is believed to be academic related, and Bastianelli could be reinstated for next weekend’s game against Oregon.
Although he was nearly a forgotten player, sophomore David Gibson was one of the Trojans’ stars after replacing injured free safety Chad Morton in the first half.
Gibson was one of the USC’s best players, recording 13 tackles, including seven unassisted and three for losses.
The 6-foot-2, 215-sophomore gave USC some rare size in the secondary and helped squash Notre Dame’s running attack in the second half.
“Playing off and on like I do, I know I have to make the most of the opportunity,” Gibson said. “In the second half, I felt real comfortable.”
Gibson started the season opener against Florida State but was replaced by freshman Antuan Simmons and played sparingly the previous four games.
Robinson has defeated Notre Dame eight times in his coaching career, matching the school record held by former coach John McKay. Robinson is 8-3-1 against the Irish.
USC improved to 9-21-1 at Notre Dame Stadium, the most wins for an opponent except for Purdue, which has 10 victories.
USC’s 14 points at halftime were the most the Trojans had scored at South Bend in each of their past two visits. USC scored 13 points in 1993 and 10 in ‘95.