Monday, November 29, 2004

It All Comes Down to the Bruins

We hope that everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday with their friends and family. Unfortunately for Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans, their happy holiday weekend became somewhat unpleasant at about 6:30pm on Saturday as the Trojans turned up the heat in second half to beat the Irish 41-10. In what has become typical for Trojan football, USC got off to a slow start but completely dominated the Irish in the second half.

Tailgate Review and UCLA Logistics

  • This was a long day of tailgaiting in the cold and rain, but there was still a great turnout
  • Some of the younger Trojan fans stayed home to watch the game on TV, but still had the spirit

  • There are a lot of "thank yous" to hand out this week so here we go. Thanks to Phil Navarro for bringing and cooking the tasty lobster and albacore
  • Thanks to Aaron Wooler for the keg...AT has taken care of us well this year!
  • Huge thanks to Andy Hoover, Matt & Dan Cherrie, Marcus & Aaron Wooler, Phil Navarro and Brendan Grubbs for showing up early (real early!), securing our location and helping set up...we are counting on you again this week!
  • Thank you to Jennifer Ignacio and Curt Himebauch for the nice warm gumbo
  • We have fond memories of tailgating at the Rose Bowl (UCLA game 2002 and Michigan game last year) and we are going all out again this year
  • This is the last tailgate of the year and needless to say this is a huge game for the Trojans
  • We will be set up in Lot H (Click here for Rose Bowl Maps), which opens at 6:30am. We will be there when the lot opens and be set up by 7am to watch GameDay. Kickoff is at 1:30pm
  • Lot H is a large grass lot on the South side of the Rose Bowl (South of the golf course, but North of swim stadium)
  • Exact location in the lot will depend on parking attendants, but look for our 3 USC flags and satellite dish
  • Breakfast will be served (eggs, pancakes, bagels, coffee) and we will likely have a light lunch(burgers, etc)
  • We are fortunate to have some great football games to watch while tailgaiting. Virginia Tech plays Miami at 10am with the winner advancing to a BCS bowl. This should take us right up to kickoff.
  • We plan on having an extended tailgate post-game as Rose Bowl traffic is just unbearable and we can watch the second half of the SEC Championship game and the first half of the Big 12 Championship game
  • Please let Tim know if you plan on attending the tailgate this week

Looking Back at the Irish and Ahead to the Bruins

  • The Irish are an improved team and had a nice scheme against the Trojans in the first half
  • USC made some adjustment in the second quarter and dominated the game from that point forward
  • It was great to see Steve Smith and Chris McFoy back on the field and healthy...their presence was a huge boost to the Trojan offense
  • Leinart threw for a career high 400yds and a career tying 5TD passes....ND had never given up 5TD passes in one game and has now done so two games in a row (Pitt, USC)
  • Alex Holmes played his best game of the year....Alex and Dominique Byrd make it difficult for defenses to cover the middle of the field
  • UCLA is clearly a better team this year than last year....though different. The strength of this team is their running game led by Maurice Drew, Manuel White and Chris Markey
  • The Bruin OL is solid and has propelled the Bruins to a the Pac 10's second leading rushing team while allowing a Pac 10 low 14 sacks
  • The Bruin have talented pass catchers with Craig Bragg, Junior Taylor, Tab Perry and TE Marcedes Lewis....make no mistake, this is a very talented and dangerous Bruin offense
  • The UCLA defense has really struggled and is currently ranked 5th in the conference in pass defense, 10th in run defense (109th nationally) 7th in scoring defense and 10th in total defense
  • Look for the Trojans to come out passing to set up the run....probably some early throws to the tight ends and backs to loosen up the Bruin LBs
  • Expect the crowd to be about 40,000 Trojans and 55,000 Bruins
  • Congratulations to Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush who were named Pac-10 Co-Offensive Players of the Year. Shaun Cody was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year as well
  • 7 Trojans made first team all conference including Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush (at RB and Kick Returner), Shaun Cody, Mike Patterson, Lofa Taputu, Matt Grootegood and Tom Malone
  • This is a heated rivalry game on the road which is never easy. Let's hope the Trojans can grind out another hard fought victory over the Bruins

Fight On!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Here Come the Irish and ESPN GameDay

After a week off, the Trojans welcome the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to the Coliseum. This game holds a unique place in college football lore and is without a doubt the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football. This game is always special and this year will be no different with the ESPN GameDay crew, a sold out stadium and national television audience. In addition, to honor the 30 year anniversary of the Trojan comeback victory over the Irish in 1974, USC has named the game "Anthony Davis Day". AD sparked that fantastic comback with a kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half. This is quite simply USC vs Notre Dame and there is nothing better.

Tailgate Update
ESPN GameDay will be returning to USC and we will be there. GameDay films a tape delayed segment for Sports Center at 7am and goes live at 7:30am. Get up early, show the nation that the Trojan fans support their team and get on TV...IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT! Click here to hear Kirk Herbstreit ask Hoover/Flynn tailgaters to show up at GameDay!This will be the third time that the tailgate crew has been in attendance for GameDay and it is an awesome experience. The Trojans have won two huge games with GameDay in attendance (Rose Bowl last year and Cal game this year) and we are hoping to go 3 for 3.

After a brief hiatus, the tailgate will back for the Notre Dame game...and will be back in force. Tailgate was cancelled for the Arizona game due to the birth of Trevor Flynn. Trevor and Clare are doing great and Trevor has been watching lots of football. Thanks to all of you who have called, stopped by, or sent gifts. Trevor will probably not be making an appearance this week, but as you can see from the photo below, he is ready for football!

A big game calls for special food. Phil Navarro has spent the entire season catching lobster and will be serving lobster this week at the tailgate. Word is that he has 30lbs!

In addition, Jennifer Ignacio will be make some gumbo and we will have all the regular fixings (burgers, etc). For those early arrivers, we will have breakfast.

Marcus Wooler will be making a rare appearance at the tailgate and he may even don his dancing outfit

We will be watching some great games on TV before the game, the best of which is Virginia vs Virginia Tech which starts at 10am. Other games include Georgia/GTech (12:30) and Oklahoma St/Texas Tech. This is the last tailgate at the Coliseum, but we will be at the Rose Bowl next week as well.

Tidbits on the ND Game, and All things USC Football

  • It is Thanksgiving this week, so let's take a moment and be thankful for our USC Trojans. USC is 10-0 and is guaranteed a third straight BCS bowl bid. The program has come a long way and this should be enjoyed, not taken for granted
  • The Notre Dame game is sold out and USC will average a record 85,000 in attendance this year. This shatters the previous record (set last year) of 78,000
  • Notre Dame is 6-4, coming off a painful 41-38 loss to Pitt in South Bend. The Irish are bowl eligible and may actually play the UCLA Bruins in the Insight Bowl
  • Notre Dame struggles to defend the pass (ranked 107th nationally in pass defense) fact all 4 losses have come to teams ranked in the top 30 in passing offense (USC ranked #24)
  • In their 4 losses, the Irish have given up on average 348yds passing, including 383 yds to Pitt in their most recent game
  • Notre Dame has played very well against "run first" teams so look for the Trojans to pass early to set up the run...this is what Norm likes to do anyway
  • Dominique Byrd did not play last year vs the Irish...look for him to be a big focus in this game against the big, but slow ND linebackers
  • We hope that Steve Smith and Chris McFoy can return to lineup this week after missing games due to leg injuries....John Drake may be back at guard as well
  • On offense, Notre Dame is ranked 87th in rushing (128yds per game), 47th in passing (230yds/gm) and 54th is scoring (26pts/gm)
  • Irish freshman RB Darius Walker (#3) is a good player, however, the Irish rarely pass when he is in the game due to his weakness in blocking
  • WR Matt Shelton is a deep threat for the Irish and QB Brady Quinn is improved over last year
  • The Irish have beaten highly ranked Michigan and Tennessee, but have lost to Pitt and BYU
  • USC is ranked 2nd in rushing defense, 2nd in scoring defense, 4th in total defense, 5th in turnover margin, 5th in pass efficiency defense and 7th in scoring offense
  • Beating the Irish is never easy, but a raucous Coliseum crowd will certainly help. Come out and support the Trojans as they fight it out with the Irish.

See you there!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Home Stretch

The Trojans pulled out a tough win in foggy Corvalis and now return home for two home games (Arizona, Notre Dame) and a trip to Pasadena to face UCLA.

Due to the birth of Trevor Flynn on Tuesday afternoon, there will be no tailgate this week. We will be back in full force for Notre Dame on November 27th and UCLA on December 4th.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Bring on the Beavers!

Despite the rain, sleet and hail, the Trojans dominated the Cougars in the Palouse, winning the game by a score of 42-12. Thanks to a botched onside kick by the Cougs and a fantastic play by Desmond Reed to recover the ball on the ensuing kickoff, WSU fell behind 14-0 before even taking an offensive snap! A spectacular Reggie Bush punt return put the Trojans up 21-0 and USC then just cruised to victory.

Notes on the Game, USC Football and the Pac 10

  • Matt Leinart had one of his best games of the year, completing 23 of 28 passes for 235 yds and two TDs
  • Dwayne Jarrett now leads the Trojans in receptions (31), receiving yards (423) and receiving TDs (8)
  • Reggie Bush has thrown a TD pass and scored TDs rushing, receiving and returning a punt this year. He also scored a TD on a kickoff return last year

  • After 3 straight 10 win seasons, the Cougs are 3-5 this year and 0-4 in October
  • The USC defense continues to be outstanding, and is now ranked 3rd nationally in scoring defense, 1st nationally in turnovers caused and 4th nationally in total defense and rushing defense
  • USC held WSU to -9 yds rushing, the second consecutive year the Cougs have had negative rushing yds against the Trojans
  • For the third time in 4 weeks, UCLA will face a team defeated by USC the previous week
  • UCLA made a statement by beating Stanford 21-0, setting up a big game with Oregon (at Autzen) on November 13th
  • Speaking of Oregon, the Ducks are looking to upset Cal this weekend in a game that could be very close
  • USC is the only school in the country to defeat 3 teams currently ranked in the Top 25 (Cal, ASU and VaTech)

Oregon St. Preview

  • The Trojans hit the road one last time to take on the Oregon St. Beavers in Corvallis. With the exception of a possible bowl game, this is the last time USC will leave LA to play a game this year
  • USC has not traveled to Corvallis since 2000, when the Beavers beat USC in route to 12-1 season. That loss snapped a 26 game winning streak by USC over the Beavers
  • After a challenging 1-4 start, Oregon St. has rebounded by winning their next three games all by 14pts or more
  • The Beavers are really struggling with their running game (RB Steven Jackson was a 1st round pick in the NFL draft), ranking 115th nationally (out of 117 Division 1 teams)
  • Oregon St. is explosive with the passing game with QB Derek Anderson, WR Mike Hass and TE Joe Newton. Anderson, however, is prone to mistakes including 4 interceptions vs the Trojans last year
  • The Beavers are talented on defense, including 2 of the best corners in the Pac 10 (Brandon Browner and Aric Williams). OSU ranks 4th or 5th in most defensive categories, but due to penalties and turnovers, the Beavers are 8th in the conference in scoring defense
  • On paper this is a good match-up for the Trojans. OSU has a weak running game, an immobile QB who throws picks and a young offensive line. Expect a game plan similar to the one executed by the Trojans against ASU
  • USC has been successful against one dimensional teams, but traveling to the Pacific Northwest on consecutive weekends is not easy

Let's hope the Trojans can grind out another tough win on the road in an injury free game.