Kapron Lewis-Moore paused for just a moment, then smiled as he realized he no longer was shackled by cliché, no longer forced to toe the company line. After three weeks of — on paper, at least — overmatched opponents, there were no more questions about looking ahead and no more well-rehearsed answers about “the next game.”
There’s only one game left.
“I can finally say, ‘USC’s the next game; we’ve got to focus on USC,’ ” said Lewis-Moore, Notre Dame’s burly senior defensive end, grinning broadly. “And it’s going to be a dogfight, like it always is.”
Despite the platitudes issued by the Irish all season, there is a game that they circle on the calendar every year. There is a game that matters a little bit more.
And it just so happens that the 84th edition of the USC-Notre Dame rivalry is all that stands in the way of a berth in the BCS championship game for the top-ranked Irish.