Wow. That game was seriously retarded.
The Dawgs did EVERYTHING to lose that ballgame today. I mean, I lost count on how many fucking drops the receivers had. Wide open drops! Drive killing drops! Drops forcing us into 3rd and long situations time and time again. Yet somehow, we did just enough on 3rd down to persevere. 7 for 14 (and 2 for 3 on fourth down).
Want to talk about doing things to lose a ballgame? How about 290 rushing yards for USC (including 222 for Allen Bradford)? They made our defense look like an Amsterdam whore house (wide open). At one point, I don’t know why they didn’t just rush the ball every single play; seriously, it would have worked! If this was Madden, and I was SC’s coach, I would have pounded the ball every time until they stopped me on consecutive plays (here’s a hint: it never would have happened).
What saved us was Matt Barkley. Yeah, you’ll look at his 14 for 19 performance with 179 yards and no turnovers and say, “How did that save us; it doesn’t look that bad.” But, those 5 incompletions were huge. They came at critical times, leading to the last two field goal attempts (where they went 1 for 2 in the 2nd half, keeping us in the ballgame).
Jake Locker had a bounce-back game of all bounce-back games. 313 yards passing with a TD; 111 yards rushing with a fumble (which, on replay, looked 50/50 like the ball went out of bounds before it passed the goalline for a USC touchback). There was a Disaster Moment in the 2nd half though, when Locker QB sneaked his way for a 1st and goal at the 1. He took a knee to the helmet that knocked him out for the next two plays. Fortunately for us, the very next play was a TD pass by Keith Price on a nifty little fake-run pass to the tight end. Unfortunately for us, Keith Price couldn’t replicate that magic on the 2-point conversion. But, that gave us the lead.
A lead that was subsequently lost on the ensuing field goal.
The subsequent (and aforementioned) missed field goal when USC could have put the game away later on left us with the ball on our 24 yard line with 2 and a half minutes to go. Drops drops drops led to a 3rd & Long play that resulted in a tough catch in traffic by D’Andre Goodwin to get us to mid-field. Then, Chris Polk GASHED ’em on a draw play for I want to say 26 yards; Polk had 92 yards rushing to go along with 45 yards receiving on the day with a TD. That led to us running the clock down to 3 seconds where Erik Folk did what he does: beats USC on last-second field goals. Folk was 4 for 4 on the day and was one of many Players Of The Game in a 1-point win. You gotta throw Locker and Polk in that group as well, but I’m telling you right now, no play was bigger than Goodwin’s catch on the game winning drive.
What looked like a bitter defeat turned into a thrilling conference victory. Without saying it was a Must Win, this game was pretty much a Must Win. Brings us to 2-2 (the hard way, as is shown by BYU’s subsequent ass-sucking since week 1), puts us at 1-0 in Pac-10 play, and means we only have to win 4 more games to be Bowl Eligible.
That’s the name of the game at this point: Bowl Eligibility. Beating SC puts us a long way towards achieving that goal.