Monday, October 11, 2004

Huge Win vs Cal....Another Tough Game this Week

Rarely does a "big" game live up to the hype, but under the bright national spotlight of ESPN GameDay and 90,000 screaming fans, the Trojans and Bears did not disappoint. The Coliseum was electric....from the beginning of GameDay at 7am to the cheers as Cal's last pass hit the ground, this was the best USC crowd I have ever seen/heard Click to hear the USC radio broadcast of the last play.

The Trojans have another big test this week at the Coliseum as the 5-0 and #15 ranked Arizona St. Sun Devils come to town. Game time is 12:30 again.

Before we review last week, if you are planning on attending or have invited friends to attend this week, PLEASE LET TIM KNOW BY THURSDAY AT NOON. It is important that we get an accurate count for planning purposes.

ESPN GameDay
There was a very impressive crowd at the GameDay set and Chris Fowler made it clear that he was shocked at the size and zeal of the group at 7am. On Fowler's Monday radio show, he called it one of 2 or 3 best GameDay environments they have seen. The crowd went crazy as Lee Corso picked the Trojans by donning his Trojan helmet and proceeding to stab a bear with his Trojan sword (look at the big screen in the background of this picture)

The tailgate crew was well represented with Cordell Sweeney, Andy Hoover, Dan Cherrie and Jeff Herman all taking turns waving the USC flags for the camera. GameDay is great fun to attend and brings some much needed national media attention to the Pac 10. I have no doubt that ESPN will be back to USC for GameDay in the future.

The Tailgate
With over 90,000 expected at the game and GameDay starting at 7am, the tailgate set-up team arrived well before sunrise

This was by far the biggest tailgate we have ever had and there are several people who made outstanding contributions.

  • Aaron and Melanie graciously provided the keg and despite having to drive from Pasadena to El Segundo to the game (AT forgot the tix!), they arrived well before dawn to help set up
  • Jennifer and Curt supplied tons of burgers with all the fixings for pre and post game
  • Phil Navarro brought the sausages
  • Pete and Erin provided the bottled water and Pete made a heroic effort to restore the satellite connection after it mysteriously disappeared around 10:45am

  • Derek brought some great food and his grill was certainly a welcome addition
  • Dan Sullivan brought all the soda and made sure there was some extra beer when the keg went dry
  • Scott and Ruth provided the tasty margaritas
  • The Beaubien's brought their top secret spicy bloody mary mix
  • It was great to see Lawrence and Cordell at the tailgate as family and work matters have limited their ability to get to games and the tailgate

    Of course, Clare, Andy and Liz did most of the "heavy lifting" and deserve all of our thanks for continuing to manage an ever growing event. The size and scope of the tailgate has grown such that it is starting to get a bit rough around the edges. We are going to look at some changes for next week to ensure that the tailgate is a nice enjoyable time for everyone and not quite as raucous. One change that is likely to occur is to move the tailgate about 5 or 6 cars west from the current spot to cut down on random traffic from the corner. We will also begin shutting down the tailgate a bit earlier before the game to ensure that we can see kickoff.

Game Tidbits

  • Cal proved to be every bit of a top 10 team and chances are that they will finish the regular season in the top 5. Cal deserves credit and respect....the Bears are real good this year
  • Lies, damn lies and statistics. Cal dominated this game statistically (yds, first downs, time of possession). USC's total yds, first downs and time of possession were lower due to outstanding fied position as a result of superior special teams play
  • USC's 9 drives started on average from the 50yd line (includes the muff punt as a new drive), while Cal's 8 drives started on average at their own 22. Cal simply had much longer to drive for each score
  • USC scored on 5 of their first 6 possessions and 5 out of 9 total possessions. Cal scored on 3 of their first 5 possessions, but were held scoreless in the final 3 possessions (3 of 8 total)
  • QB Aaron Rodgers completed 29 of 34 passes (including a NCAA record tying 23 consecutive), but the longest pass was 20yds
  • USC held Cal to 17 points which is 32 points below the Bears' average
  • In USC's last 32 games, only 2 running backs have rushed for over 100yds....both from Cal
  • Cal is not only talented, but experienced. Cal started 12 seniors vs USC (not including WRs Toller and Makonnen who both played substantially) and Rodgers is likely to leave for the NFL draft. Cal will lose its QB, top 5 WR, 4 of top 5 LB, 5 of top 6 DL and both safeties
  • USC started 8 seniors, but will return its QB, all WRs, 8 of top 10 OL (4 of 5 starters) 6 of top 8 DL and 5 of top 6 LB
  • In the game, USC played 14 underclassmen vs 5 underclassmen for Cal
  • LenDale White averaged 5yds per carry, but only was given 11 chances to rush
  • Steve Smith had two catches, each for over 40yds, but left the game early in the 3rd quarter with a broken leg. Fight On Steve!

  • Dwayne Jarrett had his best game as a Trojan and will be in the starting line-up vs ASU

  • USC has not allowed a 4th quarter TD this year

ASU Preview

  • ASU is 5-0 (2-0 in the Pac 10) and has solid victories over Iowa, Oregon, Northwestern and Oregon St. Ranked #15 in the country
  • Click here for some good info on ASU
  • ASU has an outstanding QB in Andrew Walter, but he is much different than Aaron Rodgers from Cal
  • Walter likes to throw it deep and is very immobile (think Drew Bledsoe). Walter is not as patient nor accurate as Rodgers
  • Look for USC to play a very similar defense this week. ASU prefers to stretch the field and is not happy to dink and dunk like Cal
  • ASU has very good WR (Hagan and Richardson) and true frosh TE Zach Miller is outstanding
  • ASU's running game is OK, but not as good as Cal's. They are very thin at RB due to injury and suspension issues
  • I would expect USC to put similar pressure on Walter as the Trojans did to Rodgers, but with better results (i.e. Walter can't scramble like Rodgers)
  • ASU's defense is much improved and they have a great set of LBs. Weakness is on the DL. I would hope we see much more of LenDale this week
  • I think we match up better with ASU than Cal, but ASU is a very dangerous team and is coming off a bye week while the Trojans are coming off a very tough game
  • I expect this game to be a battle, but hope the Trojans can grind out another tough victory


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