A Win is a Win is a Win...
Well, the Trojans did about everything they could to lose the game to Stanford. In an effort strangely reminiscent of the Cal game last year, USC looked very flat on defense in the first half and made several critical blunders to allow the Cardinal to jump out to a 28-17 lead at halftime. Give Stanford credit, they had an extra week to prepare and they had a nice scheme for a half, but USC simply played dominant football in the second half and pulled out a tough 31-28 win at the Farm. It is games like this where an outstanding coaching staff led by Pete Carroll makes all the difference. Click here to hear what Pete Carroll has to say about the tailgate (make sure your volume is on!)
The tailgate at Stanford was a huge success. We had a great crowd with about 25 people in attendance.
The food was spectacular (special thanks to Derek Patao for manning the grill for about 8 hours!!!) and the drinks were flowing. Stanford is a great place for tailgating and the weather was perfect. Dan Cherrie and Aaron "AT" Wooler were all star performers and there were no logistical issues thanks to the tireless efforts of the Hoovers and Clare Flynn
We had a lively crowd after the game and we enjoyed some well-deserved cocktails while watching the Oregon St./ASU game....the best way to savor another road victory. We added a taste of local (well almost local) flavor to the tailgate when the Haggquists drove up from Monterey for the game. Thanks to Larry and Kath for making the trip, picking up some critical last minute supplies and of course for providing room and board to the tailgate caravan on Friday night
The tailgate is in mid season form and will be hitting on all cylinders for the Cal game. Speaking of the Cal game, game time is set for 12:30 and that means breakfast will be served for the first time this year. Needless to say, for a game of this magnitude, the tailgate will be set up early and rumor has it that ESPN Gameday will be setting up at the Coliseum (if Cal wins on Sat)...yet another reason to come down early.
As the tailgate veterans know, our tailgate has fond memories of ESPN Gameday at the Rose Bowl last year. We are trying to develop a themed drink for the Cal game...if you have any ideas let us know (remember it will be a morning tailgate)
Before we break down the game in detail, we would like to congratulate Derek Patao for winning the trivia contest last week. He correctly answered that USC did not cover the spread against Vtech (2004), Cal (2003) and BYU (2003). Derek will receive his award at the Cal game. Of course, the Trojans did not cover the spread this week, which gives us significant pause as we are now concerned that the trivia question has jinxed the Trojans. This weeks question is less susceptible to jinx: Before Keith Rivers, who was the last Trojan to wear #55? Award to be given at Cal game to first person to email Tim with the answer.
Some thoughts on the game:
- There are more positives than negatives coming out of the Stanford game
- Since Pete Carroll arrived, the Trojans have always played with tremendous heart and this game was exhibit A....The team did not fold, but rather met the challenge head on and overcame adversity....a sign of a championship team
- The WRs played great with Steve Smith, Dwayne Jarrett and Chris McFoy all making big plays. Smith is developing into a go-to receiver while McFoy made the play of the night by battling for a key first down in the 4th quarter
- Leinart may have had his best game throwing the ball this year...his throws were on time and on target. However, taking a sack to push the Trojans beyond FG range was a blemish on Matt's report card. Matt's streak of 15 straight games with at least 2 TD passes was broken (Alex Holmes dropped a pass in the end zone on the first drive)
- Fred Davis finally got in the act with a 15yd reception. He will be used more vs Cal.
- Reggie Bush showed some tough inside running in the 4th quarter picking up critical 1st downs. With LenDale hurt, Reggie really stepped up....How about that punt return!!!
- The Trojans were very close to blowing the game wide open in the first quarter....up 10-0, USC forced a fumble deep in Stanford territory. Somehow the ball eluded 4 Trojans and found the lone Cardinal player. If USC gets that ball and goes up 17-0 (as opposed to Stanford scoring on that drive to make it 10-7) it was lights out.
- The Trojan defense gave up zero points, 37 yards and 2 first downs in the second half. The Trojans have only given up 10 points in the second half this year (2.5 pt average)
- True freshman Keith Rivers awoke the tradition of #55 and wreaked havoc from both his LB and DE spot
- Darnell Bing is really starting to play well....he will be a difference maker on defense this year
- USC has played it very close to the vest on both offense and defense this year...expect them to show several new wrinkles against Cal
- Stanford's TD run at the end of the first half was the worst play in the Pete Carroll era, closely followed by the fake punt at ND in Pete's first year
- Ryan Kileen will make a big kick this year...mark it down!
Details for the Cal tailgate to be posted next week.