LOS ANGELES (AP) – Southern California linebacker Chris Galippo apologized Monday for claiming Notre Dame quit in the final minutes of the 20th-ranked Trojans’ victory in South Bend last weekend.
USC coach Lane Kiffin called Irish coach Brian Kelly to apologize for Galippo’s comments after the 31-17 victory for the Trojans (6-1), whose dominant performance put them back in the Top 25 after a four-week absence.
Galippo is a senior who was recruited by Notre Dame out of high school. He shared his teammates’ surprise when the Irish declined to use their timeouts in the fourth quarter to slow the Trojans’ final drive, which ended the game by consuming nearly seven minutes on 10 consecutive runs by tailback Curtis McNeal.
“At the end there, when they didn’t call those timeouts, they just quit,” Galippo said after the game. “That’s what Notre Dame football is about. They’re not anything like USC.”
Galippo apologized on his Twitter feed and in a statement from the school.
“If I offended anyone with my post game comments Saturday, I do apologize,” Galippo tweeted. “I have great respect for their players and their program. It was a great game by both sides.”
Kiffin spoke to Galippo about his comments, saying the linebacker was “remorseful.” Kelly didn’t seem terribly offended when asked about Galippo’s words Sunday, saying Notre Dame might have said much the same thing after last season’s victory at the Coliseum.
Yet Galippo isn’t the only USC player who was surprised by Notre Dame’s strategy. After the game, tailback Marc Tyler also said the Trojans wore out the Irish and “beat them down,” while quarterback Matt Barkley echoed his teammates’ comments on a Los Angeles radio show on Monday.
“It seemed from our sideline and our perspective that they did give up,” Barkley told 710 ESPN. “It seemed uncharacteristic of Notre Dame. I wouldn’t have wanted to have been on that sideline.”
Barkley already has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 this season for referring to Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict as a dirty player. Barkley didn’t retract his statements after the reprimand, saying they “came from a place of respect” for Burfict.
Until the last few weeks during USC’s resurgent season, the Trojans had abandoned much of the swagger that accompanied their dominant run through college football in the previous decade, when they won two national titles and seven straight conference championships under coach Pete Carroll. USC is finishing the second season of a two-year bowl ban for misdeeds surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush, and the Trojans face severe scholarship restrictions over the next three seasons under the same NCAA sanctions.
USC athletic director Pat Haden has appeared eager to distance his venerable football program from the brashness of former AD Mike Garrett and boosters whose attitudes might have contributed to those hefty sanctions, the NCAA’s largest in a quarter-century.
Even Kiffin has caused almost no controversy with his public statements after the young coach frequently made attention-grabbing pronouncements in his previous jobs at Tennessee and with the Oakland Raiders.
Kiffin said the bowl-banned Trojans’ win at Notre Dame was the biggest victory of his two-year tenure, but “it wasn’t a Super Bowl for us. We’ve got a lot of big games ahead.”