(LOS ANGELES) — For the first time since 1988, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team will play for a National championship.
Notre Dame (12-0) headed to Los Angeles and defeated rival USC (7-5), to cap a perfect season and clinch its spot in the BCS championship game.
“I’m just so proud of my players and my coaches and the way they’ve been able to win all the games,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. “The way we had to fight against USC on the road, Oklahoma on the road, a great Stanford team…It’s just great players…great coaches…and just a lot of resolve.”
Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals, Theo Riddick rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown and linebacker Manti Te’o came up with a big interception to help lead the Irish to victory.
One of the biggest series of the game came at the end of the fourth quarter. With less than three minutes to play, holding a 22-13 lead, Notre Dame stuffed the Trojans on four straight downs from the Irish 1, pretty much sealing the victory.
“I mean that’s who we are,” Kelly said when referring to the goal line stand.
The Irish will now await what is likely to be the winner of the SEC Championship game between Alabama and Georgia.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire
Jill Martin, CNN