SOUTH BEND, Ind. - It had been three years since Notre Dame had last lost a game when the Southern California Trojans traveled to South Bend for the first time. The Irish were playing in only their second season in Notre Dame Stadium, and their first season without coach Knute Rockne, who had died in a plane crash in March.
USC had been the last team to beat Notre Dame, and they came in to South Bend expected to give Notre Dame a close game. With 52,000 in attendance, Notre Dame took a 14-0 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Trojans started to come back, scoring twice to cut the lead to 14-13, but a blocked extra point attempt after their second touchdown seemed to doom them.
The Trojans kept marching, though, getting a final-minute field goal from Johnny Baxter for a 16-14 victory. It was Notre Dame's first loss in Notre Dame Stadium.
The victory sent the Trojans climbing up the national rankings. Despite having one loss entering the Notre Dame game, USC ended the season with the number 1 ranking in football, a significant milestone as it was the first time a specific formula, based on strength of schedule, among other factors, was used to determine the rankings. Unbeaten Tulane was ranked No. 2. At the end of the season, the Rose Bowl invited USC and Tulane to play each other to settle the argument; USC won 21-12.