Originally posted on Bloguin Best  |  Last updated 11/24/12
Nevermind what haters say, ignore them ’til they fade away. - T.I. Yep, let the haters hate as Notre Dame is headed to the National Championship game for the first time since their last undefeated and national championship season in 1988 following a 22-13 win over bitter rivals USC. Unlike that 1988 team this one will get to the title game on the backs of their defense, a unit that carried them all season and again tonight. For all of the haters out there, that's 24 years since their last championship and last championship game appearance too. For a team that's supposedly given all the advantages in the world of rankings and matchups that's sure a long time, huh? A lot has changed around the landscape of college football and in the Fighting Irish program, but the one constant is that the Irish's national title hopes have always hinged on a season ending matchup with the Trojans of USC. On Saturday night the Irish passed their weekly test. One the pundits have said they had to pass every single week, all season long, no matter who they were facing. It hasn't been pretty football at times and there hasn't been a ton of scoring all season long, but the Irish found the formula to make them championship material in going 12-0 this season. That formula was on full display in their victory over the Trojans on Saturday as they used a balanced offensive attack and a stifling defense to pull out another hard fought victory. Notre Dame got a huge performance from Theo Riddick (146 yards rushing, 1TD) and quarterback Everett Golson (15-26, 217 yards passing) offensively, but it was the defense that once again came through in the clutch like has happened all season long. Of course just when the Irish needed the big play in a close football game it was Heisman trophy candidate Manti Te'o coming through as he picked off USC redshirt freshman QB Max Wittek less than three minutes into the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately the Irish offense didn't convert, but it set the tone for what was a very even 2nd half of football. The Irish allowed just 281 yards of total offense to a USC team that was averaging 431 yards heading into the game. Perhaps most telling of how the Irish came away victorious was the fact that they stuffed USC when it mattered most - on third down. The Trojans were just 1 of 8 on 3rd downs for the night and that won't help you win football games against Colorado, let alone Notre Dame. Irish fans and haters across the country will be tuning in to the BCS selection show in two weeks to find out if the Irish will have what it takes to fulfill the No. 1 ranking they currently hold and who will face them. No matter your thoughts on the Irish program being one of just two undefeated teams in FBS football makes you worthy of the national championship game. For all of his opinions on college football, basketball and sports in general make sure to follow Andy on Twitter @andycoppens.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Eli Manning: I 'deserve some criticism' for some of Giants' woes

L.A. mayor: City would have been fine with one NFL team

MLB-wide home run record falls with 12 days to spare

Top storylines heading into college football Week 4

Dolphins suspend Lawrence Timmons indefinitely

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Greg Olsen placed on IR, will miss at least eight weeks

Report: NFL official under investigation for domestic violence

Alvarez vs. Golovkin result gives boxing another black eye

Jerry Jones defends Elliott amid criticism over lack of effort

NFL monitoring CFL’s decision to end contact practices

RG3 fires back at Santana Moss over Mike Shanahan comments

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House sticks it to sports

The 'Not so elementary, my dear Watson' quiz

September chill hits Astros, Dodgers at worst time

College football 2017 Week 3 predictions

Three Up, Three Down: Cleveland hits historic heights while Cubs struggle

The 'Will the Indians ever lose again?' quiz

Fighting Irish News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Referee Hotline: Mike McCarthy is sick of these calls

Baseball's most underwhelming teams of 2017

The 'Kevin Durant has mad (Twitter) handles' quiz

Ranking the best college football fan bases

The 'Remember the tight ends' quiz

Getaway Day: Time runs short as postseason nears

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House sticks it to sports

The 'Not so elementary, my dear Watson' quiz

September chill hits Astros, Dodgers at worst time

Three Up, Three Down: Cleveland hits historic heights while Cubs struggle

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker