‘‘I wanted to make it a special moment for the seniors on defense. They have been obviously the rock. They've carried us while we were trying to find ourselves offensively,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘It just seemed to me to be a pretty good gesture to allow us to honor those seniors.’’
When Notre Dame went 11-0 in 1989, the Irish were beaten by Miami in the regular season finale and finished the season ranked No. 2 behind the Hurricanes.
The last time the Irish headed to Los Angeles to play Southern Cal undefeated was a year earlier, in 1988, when the squad coached by Lou Holtz beat the second-ranked Trojans 27-10 en route to the school’s last national championship.
Te'o said that’s the only focus now.
‘‘I don’t care about anything else but winning and being part of this team,’’ he said. ‘‘And now we have to work on USC, and beating USC.’’