“I was shocked that they didn’t use the timeouts because we got on the field with … about seven minutes left, and I thought they were planning on stopping us and saving their timeouts for the end when they had the ball,” Barkley said Monday in an interview with Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley on 710 ESPN in Los Angeles. “It seemed from our sideline and our perspective that they did give up. It seemed uncharacteristic of Notre Dame. I wouldn’t have wanted to have been on that sideline.”
Notre Dame had timeouts to burn in the fourth quarter when USC got the ball back with 6:43 remaining and chose to sit on them while USC used 10 consecutive runs to whittle the clock down. USC players were baffled by the move because Notre Dame could have gotten the ball back with ample time had it gotten a defensive stop and had some clock management.
“At the end there, when they didn’t call those timeouts, they just quit,” USC linebacker Chris Galippo said after the game. “And that’s what Notre Dame football’s about. They’re not anything like USC.”
USC’s comments are probably some of the harshest that have come out of this bitter rivalry in quite some time, but Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly refused to fire back during his teleconference Sunday. Kelly, whose team is 4-3, unranked and in line to finish yet another season without a BCS bowl berth, didn’t think his team ever quit.
“I don’t know if that’s the case,” Kelly said. “To the victors go the spoils. I think we probably would have said the same thing last year. Again, how we evaluate our players, we didn’t play the kind of football we wanted to play.”