Caleb Williams stamps Heisman bid with impressive performance (2:04)

USC defeated Notre Dame 38-27 with a performance that included one touchdown, three rushes, and a quarterback who threw for one touchdown. There is a time and a place for it.

1:37 AM ET

He has had better nights. He's passed for more yards and scored more goals. Williams showed why the story of his season needs a three-dimensional explanation against Notre Dame.

Despite the fact that his numbers are breaking USC single-season records, during a crucial 37-28 win over Notre Dame that kept USC in the playoffs, Williams solidified his position as a Heisman front-runner by showing.

The sophomore quarterback danced, skirted and evaded the Irish defense on his biggest stage. Williams turned potential disasters into highlight plays. The Coliseum was a hive of activity as fans broke into chants of "Heisman" at the end of the game.

"That's what happens when you have a great quarterback," Jones said. It was amazing.

Williams had 232 passing yards and a QBR of 98.6 on the night, his best of the season.

The story on Saturday was how elusive Williams could be with his legs, despite the fact that he has shown how effective he can be with his arm. Williams was able to stay upright despite the fact that the Irish's defensive line made their way into the field a lot. He only had four incompletions, so he didn't throw it away.

He would find a way to give a receiver a chance to catch one, or he would do it on his own.

Lincoln Riley joked after the game that he only disliked the sack because he had seen him do it a lot. A high percentage of the time, he makes the right play on it.

USC is 11-1 with a chance to win a conference title and earn a playoff spot because of the trust Riley and Williams have between each other. It's a huge improvement from last season, when the team went 4-7. Williams has tried to not get caught up in the chatter, even though it has been important. It has been inescapable this week.

Everybody lets everyone else talk about it. We all know about it. I think he is the best player in the country.

USC released a video campaign earlier this week while Williams' teammates talked about him. USC played a video on the Jumbotron before the game to encourage fans to vote for Williams, who acknowledged the award during the game. Williams struck the pose three times.

Williams said his teammates told him to do it so he obliged. Jordan Addison placed a crown on Williams' head on the sideline.

"He's the one, so I had to crown him myself," she stated. He's going to play bigger if the stage is big.

USC practices those scrambling plays in practice. The mentality that every skill player and offensive linemen has had to adopt is simple: You never know where Williams is going, but you know the play is never over when the ball is in his hands. There was a scramble on Saturday. Williams' back was facing the rest of his team as he was almost brought down by a Notre Dame defender before turning the play into a 20-yard gain.

Jones smiled and said it was tiring. I asked where you were going.

The escape that Williams makes look easy is not the only one. He turns a bad play into a great one when he runs across his body or when he throws the ball on the run.

Williams said that extended plays are part of the game. My dad is always talking about taking off.

The instincts that have kept drives and games alive for USC all season now have them on the verge of achieving not just individual awards but team success as well. Williams is aware of that more than most of his teammates.

Williams said that he came from a team that finished well last year. Most of the guys here didn't know what it felt like to be in a position to do something you always dreamed of. It's time now.

Williams was in the crowd. He made a lap around the Coliseum, signed autographs for kids, and met his dad, Carl, in the stands, who seemed to know what everyone else realized on Saturday night.

Williams had 3,712 passing yards and 44 total touchdown with only three turnovers. If they play a highlight reel during the ceremony in New York City, he will use it to state his case for the top award in college football.