Trojans Let One Slip Through Their Fingers

When it rains it pours for Trojan fans

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Shotgun Spratling

    On a rain-soaked Coliseum field, the USC Trojans (7-5, 4-4 Pac-10) dropped one to rival Notre Dame (7-5) whose fourth quarter touchdown drive gave the Irish the 20-16 come from behind victory and snapped the Trojans eight game dominance over the Fighting Irish.

    THREE "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" MOMENTS:

    1. The Drive. The Trojan defense played their best game of the year. For three quarters and 12 minutes the defense contained the Irish offense and controlled the game. However, just like previous games, the Trojans defense couldn’t make the final stand and let the Irish waltz down the field for the go ahead touchdown. The score put Irish in front of the Trojans with a pinch over two minutes remaining. For the Trojans defense, it was the ninth time this season their opponent has scored on their final drive of the game.
       
    2. The Drop.  It was 3rd and 7 on the USC 47-yard line and Mitch Mustain was putting together a last-minute drive. Senior wide receiver Ronald Johnson pulled off a double move and left the Notre Dame defender sitting on the turf. All Johnson had to do now was adjust to the pass and then walk into Trojan lore. Instead, the ball slipped through the wide-open receiver’s fingertips and Johnson fell to the turf in infamy.
       
    3. The Drought.  A couple stats jump out: The Trojans’ running backs carried the ball 27 times for 79 yards. Coach Lane Kiffin called 37 pass plays by his backup quarterback. Senior running back, Alan Bradford never sniffed the field even though the wet conditions favored the big back’s running style.

      In a game where everyone thought we would see a heavy dose of the running game, Kiffin relied heavily on the pass. The Fighting Irish were ranked 62nd in the NCAA against the run giving up an average of 153 rushing yards per game. It is a wonder why the talented running backs along with the solid offensive line of the Trojans couldn’t put up better numbers against an average Notre Dame run defense. But then again, they really didn’t have the opportunity either.

    BY THE NUMBERS:

    GAME STATS
     

    USC
    TROJANS

    NOTRE DAME
    FIGHTING IRISH

    SCORE  16  20
    RUSHING YARDS  80  147
    PASSING YARDS  181  149
    TOTAL YARDS  261  296
    PENALTIES 8-47  1-10
    TURNOVERS  1  4
    TIME OF POSSESSION  31:35 28:25

    PLAY(s) OF THE GAME:

    Everyone and their mothers want to point to the Ronald Johnson drop as the play, or misplay, of the game. However, the plays of the game happened eight times as the refs dropped the little yellow hanky against the Trojans. A false start makes it 2nd and 11 or 4th and 7. A holding penalty moves it from 3rd and 2 to 2nd and 12. Every time the Trojans strung together a drive, they took aim at their foot and then unloaded on it. On the other side of the field, Notre Dame was penalized one time for 10 yards.

    NEXT GAME:

    USC Trojans (7-5, 4-4 Pac-10) @ UCLA Bruins (4-7, 2-6 Pac-10)

    MY PREDICTIONS

    MY RECORD FOR PREDICTIONS: 9-3

    RESULTS GAME DETAILS MY PREDICTIONS

    @ HAWAII
    USC 49 - Hawaii 36

    The Trojans win with an offensive explosion.

    Trojans 42 - Warriors 28

    vs. Virginia
    USC 17 - Virginia 14

    Virginia keeps it close at half but second half is all Trojans.

    Trojans 34 - Cavaliers 17

    @ Minnesota
    USC 32 - Minnesota 21

    Minnesota scores first and then the Trojans roll.

    Trojans 42 - Gophers 13

    @ Washington State
    USC 50 - Washington St. 16

    Trojans put on an offensive and defensive clinic.

    Trojans 54 - Cougars 6

    vs. Washington
    USC 31 - Washington 32

    USC will pulled away from the Huskies in the 2nd half.

    Trojans 42 - Huskies 24

    @ Stanford
    USC 35 - Stanford 37

    Stanford take advantage of a weak Trojan Defense.

    Trojans 24 - Cardinal 48

    vs. Cal
    USC 48 - Cal 14

    Cal takes the guessing out of the end of this game.

    Trojans 17 - Bears 27

    vs. Oregon
    USC 32 - Oregon 53

    Oregon's high powered offense spoils homecoming.

    Trojans 45 - Ducks 52

    vs. Arizona State
    USC 34 - Arizona St. 33

    A back-and-forth affair but USC survives.
    Trojans 32 - Sun Devils 28

    @ Arizona
    USC 24 - Cal 21

    The Trojans will make it 5 straight in Tucson.

    Trojans 38 - Wildcats 24

    @ Oregon State
    USC 7 - Oregon St. 36

    The Trojans will break the curse.

    Trojans 34 - Beavers 28

    vs. Notre Dame
    USC 16 - Notre Dame 20

    The Irish will stop the Trojans' streak at eight.

    Trojans 31 - Irish 33