Was loss to USC QB DeShone Kizer's last game in a Notre Dame uniform?

Al Lesar
South Bend Tribune

LOS ANGELES — Trick plays can be fun. They can also be the sign of a desperate football team.

Either way, it could make for an interesting game.

Notre Dame knew it was going to have a tough challenge with the fast, aggressive, physical Southern Cal defense. That being understood, the Irish came into their rivalry battle with a deep playbook and the courage to let it rip.

• Statue of Liberty play: Didn’t work, running back Dexter Williams lost seven yards.

• Receiver pass: Actually, this happened twice – both thrown by Chris Finke, a backup quarterback in high school. The first one was a jump ball with a USC defender that came up empty; the second was a pass back to quarterback DeShone Kizer that went for four yards.

Despite the flair, substance was lacking and the Irish fell, 45-27.

“We brought everything we could to try to catch them off guard,” said Kizer.

If that was the last game Kizer plays at Notre Dame, he finished it in a lot of pain. Late in the fourth quarter, he took a punishing hit to the ribs. He expected X-rays to be taken once he returned to campus.

The question of Kizer’s future with the Irish will be up in the air for several weeks. He and coach Brian Kelly both confirmed that his name has been submitted to the NFL Draft Advisory Board so that he might get an idea of where he would be drafted if he left Notre Dame with two years of eligibility remaining.

“There’s a lot of information we have to receive in the next couple weeks,” he said. “I don’t even know what (the advisory board) is. They’re going to get back a grade, so that I know my standing.

“The draft is a very unique opportunity. There are a lot of factors going into it. It’s completely in someone else’s hands. This season was a decent representation of me as an athlete. Whatever they choose to for that one report, there’s a lot more information we’ll have to bring in to make a decision.”

Kizer’s season ended with him completing 17 of 32 passes for 220 yards and two scores (14 yards to Chris Finke and 29 to Kevin Stepherson). Besides being treated like a piñata by being sacked six times, he also threw a pick-six.

“There were some good things that (Kizer) did,” Kelly said. “At times, he didn’t get the support that he needed. There were some balls that could have been caught. It could have been a little bit better of a throw; a little bit better of a catch. It was kind of a mixed bag.

“He’s a tough grader, and I’m a tough grader. I’m not the kind of guy who will come up with the big bouquet even if he’s 18 of 20.”

Now that he seems to have survived a 4-8 season, Kizer said there were benefits that should help him down the road, no matter what the decision on his future will be.

“To be a member of this 2016 Notre Dame football team means quite a bit to me,” Kizer said. “There’s so much that has happened this year that I’m going to learn from and build from.

“It’s pretty much priceless. I can go back and watch a lot of good film and go through a lot of great games and learn from them. Hopefully, I can make this season one of the most valuable seasons I’ve been a part of.”

Of course, this was only his second, so the body of evidence wasn’t very large.

Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer (14) exits the field following Notre Dame's 45-27 loss to Southern Cal, Saturday at ithe Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)