A field goal might have saved Southern California coach John Robinson's job. Again.
Adam Abrams kicked a 37-yard field goal with 1:05 left Saturday as USC beat Notre Dame, 20-17. Trojans linebacker Mark Cusano set up the score by picking off Ron Powlus' pass and returning it to the Irish 29 with 2:40 left.
It was the first time USC (3-3) won at Notre Dame (2-5) since 1981, and the victory could go a long way in determining whether Robinson is around next season. The veteran coach said earlier this week that he would quit at the end of the season if he couldn't turn his team around.
"I don't know where we're going, but we took a step forward today," Robinson said. "We turned it around for a week. But who knows what's coming next week."
As the gun sounded, the USC players surrounded Robinson before rushing onto the field with the Trojan band. The Irish players hung their heads, and receiver Malcolm Johnson lay on the field, covering his face with his hands as USC players stepped over him.
USC racked up 156 yards in penalties and Notre Dame had 75.
Orangemen pummel Owls
SYRACUSE -- Quinton Spotwood scored three times, including his NCAA record-tying fourth punt return for a touchdown, as Syracuse (5-3 overall, 2-1 in the Big East Conference) romped to a 60-7 victory over Temple (2-5, 2-2).
It was the fourth straight win for the Orangemen. Spotwood entered the record books with Syracuse ahead, 47-7, early in the fourth quarter when he returned a punt 71 yards. It tied the NCAA season record set in 1971 by both Cliff Branch of Colorado and Golden Richards of BYU and equaled in 1987 by James Henry of Southern Mississippi.
"It means a lot because we're winning right now," Spotwood said of the record.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb, who sat out the second half after Syracuse raced to a 40-0 lead, was 10 for 17 passing for 197 yards and was not intercepted. Spotwood had six catches for 92 yards and Kyle McIntosh rushed for 88 yards on 16 carries.
Around the country
Miami (2-4, 1-2) needed the best rushing performance in Big East Conference history by Edgerrin James and a missed two-point conversion in overtime to stop its longest losing streak in 20 years.
James ran for 271 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first four quarters, and the Hurricanes won, 45-44, at Boston College (2-5, 2-3) on Andy Crosland's extra-point kick in the second overtime. Curtis Martin set the previous Big East record of 251 yards for Pittsburgh against Texas in 1994. The old Miami mark of 249 yards was set by Lorenzo Roan against East Carolina in 1980.
On third and 18 at the 21 in the second overtime, Ryan Clement then threw a touchdown pass to Daryl Jones. Crosland followed with his winning kick.
Rob Lalumondier scored two touchdowns and set up Eric Olsen's game-winning 28-yard field goal as Army (2-4), after blowing a 25-point lead, came back to take a 37-35 win over visiting Rutgers (0-7), which overcame first-half deficits of 24-0 and 31-6.
Mike McMahon, a freshman starting his first game, threw for 386 yards and one touchdown and also ran for a TD for Rutgers.
Chris McCoy threw three touchdown passes as Navy (3-3) romped to a 42-7 victory over visiting Virginia Military Institute (0-7).
In Hamilton, Harry Nakielny tossed a 5-yard pass to Ken Nevarcz with 2:01 left to lift Princeton (4-1) to a 31-28 victory over Colgate (4-2). Quarterback Ryan Vena was 14 of 31 for 252 yards and a TD for Colgate.
Brad Kiesendahl ran 6 yards for the winning touchdown, his third score of the game, as Cornell (2-3) took a 41-34 win over visiting Lafayette (1-6) in double overtime. Kiesendahl also rushed for a career-high 173 yards.
In Montgomery, Ala., quarterback Darnell Kennedy threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns as Alabama State (1-6) snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 56-7 win over Prairie View A&M (0-5), which extended its NCAA record with its 74th straight loss.
In Salem, Ore., a female kicker at Willamette University became the first woman ever to play in a college football game. Liz Heaston, a 20-year-old junior, kicked two extra points as Willamette beat Linfield College, 27-0.