|USC still feels the pain of loss to Stanford|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 11 November 2008 14:36|
No doubt Pete Carroll does as well, although the Trojans' coach wasn't eager to discuss one of the biggest upsets in college football history Tuesday at his weekly meeting with reporters.
That's understandable, considering his team was the victim.
Somehow, 41-point underdog Stanford rallied to beat then-No. 2 USC 24-23 last season, snapping the Trojans' 35-game winning streak at the Los Angeles Coliseum and ultimately knocking them out of contention for the BCS championship game.
The teams meet Saturday at Stanford, and the Cardinal (5-5, 4-3 Pac-10) has another chance to spoil USC's hopes for a national title. The sixth-ranked Trojans (8-1, 6-1) are favored by 23 points this time despite Stanford's 4-0 record at home.
``It's been discussed,'' Moore said regarding last year's shocker. ``That was a very depressing loss. It's revenge this weekend. It's still on our minds, the guys who were here last year.
beat us by 1 point last year, it was pretty much a fluke loss. There are a lot of emotions going into this game.''
Stanford was coming off three one-sided losses entering last year's game, including a 41-3 setback to visiting Arizona State the previous week. Tavita Pritchard made his first collegiate start against USC as a fill-in for T.C. Ostrander, who had a seizure six days before the game.
USC dominated Stanford statistically, rolling up 459 yards of total offense to 235, but committed five turnovers while forcing only one.
The game turned late in the third quarter, after the Trojans had taken a 16-7 lead. Not counting their final possession, when they took a knee with the game in hand, the Cardinal gained 186 yards and scored 17 points the last three times they had the ball.
Pritchard threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mark Bradford on fourth-and-goal with 49 seconds left and Derek Belch's PAT provided the winning points.
``We're not supposed to lose at the Coliseum, that hurt the most,'' Moore recalled with a sigh. ``It was a horrible feeling, being booed by the home fans, very depressing. We have to get that win back, feel like we got something back from last year, get some emotion out at their place.''
Carroll said the Cardinal is improved from last year, adding: ``We had all we could handle last time around. So we're going to try to get right and put together a great game here.''
Asked which team might benefit from what happened in last year's game, Carroll replied: ``I don't know, you'd have to ask them how they feel about it. But anytime that we get beaten, particularly in the conference, it's just a reminder of how critical every game is and how you have to get ready and right every single time you go, and you have to play well and do things right, and not do the kinds of things that can beat you.''
Carroll specifically mentioned the five turnovers. Four came after halftime on interceptions thrown by John David Booty, who played the whole game despite breaking a bone in the middle finger of his throwing hand in the second quarter. Carroll has since acknowledged on several occasions that he made a mistake by not replacing Booty, who sat out the next three games.
``They came through, made the plays they had to make, and it was a great finish for them,'' Carroll said. ``It wasn't for us.''
Tight end Anthony McCoy said he believes the Trojans simply weren't ready to play on that October night. He promised it will be a different story Saturday.
``The press is going to blow it up, that we're going to try and look for revenge. It will be a little bit of that, but it's just another game, that's what they teach us. We're going to go into Stanford, see signs, `Remember Last Year.' We've just got to focus on the game,'' he said. ``Nothing's easy.''
st year was a 24-17 setback at Oregon in the final game Booty missed. Had that been their only setback, the Trojans probably would have played in the national championship game.
The Trojans have won six straight, outscoring the opposition 231-23 since losing 27-21 at Oregon State on Sept. 25. USC leads the country in scoring defense (6.4 points) and total defense (206.4 yards), and is 25-0 in November games since Carroll became coach in 2001.
``The fact that we're coming down to the end of the Pac-10 challenge, this is right where we'd like to be,'' Carroll said. ``We're playing for championships each week, and we're going to take it as such and put together a fantastic week.''