USC Play Of The Game

I think the most important play against Utah was Sam Darnold’s 10-yard completion to Tyler Vaughns on fourth-and-9. The odds are not great on fourth-and-9 especially after USC runs a pitch play on third-and-10 for a 1-yard gain.

But Darnold and Vaughns made it work. If they didn’t, would USC have won the game? I’m not sure.

70 thoughts on “USC Play Of The Game

  1. USC was moving the ball at will in the 4th qtr. Even if Utah made the 2-pt conversion, I’m convinced we would have at least made it into field goal range in 42 seconds.

  2. Amazing how many people don’t understand the concept of running the ball on 3rd down when you know you’re going to go for it on 4th down. I get it didn’t work out well in this particular instance but that doesn’t mean it was a bad play call. Had Sam actually made the DE commit before pitching it, it might have had a better outcome. Regardless, running the ball on an obvious passing down can help setup a much more manageable 4th down.

    • Yes. Typically a better call would be a 3-4 receiver spread set and run a draw to wide side of the field. I’m still scratching my head on that option run play with the box stacked.

  3. I liked Sams scramble for a 1st down and all the shifty moves he put on the defense to get it.

    • Exactly, my same thoughts. If we don’t pick up the 1st down deep in utah territory it’s game, set, match for utah

          • It was a thing of beauty. Whereas Darnold’s pass to Vaughns was a wayward prayer that Vaughns one-handed going the wrong way. That’s when Vaughns became the Trojan we expect for the future. He just created his personna and now the poor guy has to live up to it every game.

  4. The odds were terrible when Sam flat threw a terrible pass, Vaughns completely made the play single handedly.

    • Not exactly single handedly. Close. I’d say Vaughns was 90 to 95% responsible.

        • Sam played really well in 2nd half. Every QB needs receivers to be great athletes in occasion. Tom Brady exploded with Moss. Hoping Sam explodes with healthy receiving core and backs.

        • My neighbors brought over the most god awful home made pizza you ever tasted —-so I’m just drinking their beer on an empty stomach. I shouldn’t even be on the blog right now, Chris —-anything I say, I’ll regret later…..

          • I tried responding to you, marv —-but somehow I responded to myself. Check me out above.

          • Marv, I don’t know what the f**k kind of pizza it is —they got a pizza oven and they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. There’s some kind of meat on it and I said “mmm. this is certainly great rooster meat.” They got all offended —-so now my wife is p*ssed at me. I’m on my 4th or 5th Lava Man.

          • Last add, marv. The story actually gets worse. My neighbor’s wife said ‘you can’t even buy rooster meat —it’s too stringy.’ I said ‘I bet it’s fine —they just need the roosters for breeding.’ Then she said ‘what difference does it make —you can’t get it.’ Having 5 beers in me I should have shut up, but I tried to be funny and said ‘I just don’t like to be lied to.” The room got real, real quite.

          • I would have gotten back to you sooner, RT —but Jack told me to go downstairs and join the neighbors (and I always do what Jack sez). And I got stuck for SIX more hours of sheer hell vapidity. When it was over they said “That was fun!”

          • LMAO…MG, my friend, you should’ve been warned! Listening to our dear Trojan JB sometimes has consequences. haha

          • Cool. I never heard that before. Rooster meat – say it and anyone’s wife won’t talk to them for days. Cracks me up!

            Good job Michael. Hope she doesn’t stretch out your punishment for too long.

          • Thanks, pardner —I needed that. [I’m up here in the computer room alone….I can hear laughter downstairs]……

          • You gotta face the music. Get down there and do whatever it takes. Just don’t make any jokes about roosters. Their minds are all made up about that.

            It’s funnier than heck! And scre*w ’em if they can’t take a joke. I’d be laughing about the rooster meat reference for weeks. It should be in some stand up comedy club routine!

          • Man, it is SO good to know there are people with a sense of humor out there —–too bad you guys aren’t at my house right now.

          • It’s 5:30 in the morning here in Maui —–and, to paraphrase a line from 20th century cinema, “I’m Baaaack.”

          • Hey MG! What a night you had! Mighty glad you’re back to your former self! Now get yourself ready for the big game on Saturday! Fight On!

    • That was truly a great catch too. He caught it exactly how he was trying to catch it and it wasn’t luck. Very few people could’ve made that catch. He also had work to do to get the first down and he got it. He goes after the ball really well and runs with it well too. He seems like a quiet guy, but there’s a tenacity about his game. He’s a football player and he’ll be impossible to handle as he matures.

      • Agreed. He reminds me of juju when he was healthy. He should be the kind of guy you can just throw it up a sideline fade and he will win the fight and come down with it. That was something we did a few times a game last year. Hoping Tyler can once again make that happen. Will get safeties out of the box as well. Fight on!!!

        • He doesn’t remind me of Juju at all. Juju was a physical receiver and was an athletic, physically developed dude. Juju could’ve been a vicious safety. Tyler is a pure receiver, slightly built, has better hands than Juju and plays more of a finesse game. Juju was kind of brutish at WR and Tyler is silky smooth.

  5. Everything I’m reading says that ND doesn’t think much of SC this week. More concerned with Miami and N.C. State.

    • I don’t believe ND doesn’t have us at the very top of its list. Regardless of any quotes out there, Brian Kelly knows his name is mud if USC leaves TD Jesus with a victory. ND’s life depends on getting a win here. They lose, they’re playing for scraps.

      • I think Kelly wants it bad, but making suttle comments without mentioning SC. Any chance to put a dig in against the much hated rival.

        • I’m gonna have to start reading up.

          Holtz used to beat us every single year while praising us to high heaven the week before. It didn’t matter who we had, we couldn’t beat the Domers.

          Tony Rice, Jerome Bettis, Michael Stonebreaker, Reggie Brooks, Tim Brown, Bryant Young, Rocket Ismael, Aaron Taylor, Rodney Culver…They all give me nightmares.

          • He could be getting ready to play a 1-9 Navy team, and he would describe them as if they were 9-1. Then they would go out and destroy them.

          • Behind the scenes, Lou Holtz was often called “Lyin’ Lou” by some of his fellow coaches.

          • Tony Rice hammered us.

            We finally got ’em 8 years later in the famous Sammy Knight overtime game. I was there and I tell ya, we were looking like we were surely gonna lose that one too until Knight and Delon Washington ended our misery after a whopping 13 games without a win against the Irish. That streak seemed like it would never end!

  6. Play of the game was Ajene Harris shoestringing Troy Wiliiams right before he gets ready to launch himself into our EZ and pull another Vince Young on us. It was really so very close. If Ajene hits him on the three instead of the five, Williams stretches himself in.

    We’ve exorcized a lot of ghosts this season – STAN, TEXAS and now UTAH.

    An amazing year for a team still struggling to prove it belongs amongst the elite this season. ND will answer many questions.

    • Yes, indeed, JB. This ND game will answer many, many questions about our team and its future. Wow, is this a huge game! I get butterflies already, and I’m sure I’ll be more nervous at the game time than when I played some intense football games in the old days. LOL!

      • I haven’t missed a ND/USC game on either radio or TV since 1964, except for 1966 when they beat us 51-0 and I had a Pop Warner game. It’s just such a fantastic affair. Can’t wait to see how we show up on Saturday. Perfect weather.

        I’ll be watching it with an old friend who’s seen dozens of these Trojan/Irish affairs with me. Great food. Some laughs. Old replayed memories and of course, the big game. Hope we’ve got the firepower. We’ll have to play our best game of the year to win this one. Fight On!

        • Ahh…those memories…You seem to go back a few more years than me, JB. But I’ve got my own rich memory lane to revisit when it comes to SC-ND history in football, including my own personal story that I actually could’ve ended up in South Bend as a player were it not for an injury I suffered in high school. So I guess that injury has made me a Trojan for life because it’s what made me give up my football and go to SC as a non-athlete. Fate has a funny of working our lives out sometimes.

        • Love from STAN and Barkley from PSU will both be tough to beat – better teams. Rich Rod saved his job with Tate.

          • Turns out Rich Rod doesn’t like Tate free lancing but they guy is a phenomenal talent and just saved his job.

          • I can’t wait to face Tate in the Coliseum. Will he stomp us like he does everyone else? It’s not like our LBs are super fast. He could give us a lot of trouble. Troy Williams just did.

    • I’m so disappointed to see that guy pop up in the mix. Arizona is a different team with Tate at QB.

  7. That picture illustrates something I’ve been noticing about Sam’s throwing motion. He seems to extend his arm when he throws and it gives him a high release point. When his arm comes forward, the ball seems a lot higher above his head relative to other throwing motions. I would think you’d have more control on the trajectory and the ball in general if the motion was tighter and more compact.

      • Good observation. On the plus side, unlike JD Booty in the past, Darnold as very few balls batted down because of that. Darnold was a basketball star before his QB days started, and I think that contributes to comfort with a high release point. But you guys are right — as a matter of sheer physics, releasing that high probably introduces variables on some throws to hurt accuracy. It was no problem last year though.

      • The secret to Sam’s success isn’t in his arm. He has a strong arm, but it’s not otherwise special. The secret to his success is some intangible thing that has more to do with his spirit and/or personality. Josh Rosen has the arm and all the technical stuff that can be taught (you can see when he throws that a lot of money went into that arm) while Sam has something inside of him that you can’t buy or teach. That’s why Sam is special and that’s the secret to his success.

  8. Well, look at it this way…..The Trojans have not played their best ball (it would seem) so far this year and the guy who scares the hell out of opponents OC’s (Gustin) has missed more then half the season so far and RJ’s solid backup (Carr) has also been hurt for several games and not played. Somehow, they have figured out how to win (not pretty) but sooner or later, teams have to do that unless you are Alabama and play 8 home games each year. We have seen Rector and Jack Jones come on as players and Biggie Marshall take a serious step back (it looks as though his confidence is really taking a hit after every play he is involved in seems to go to hell). With the loss of 60% of the offensive line and playmakers like Rogers, JuJu, and Adoree gone from last year, I figured this team for 9-3; with the injuries to Gustin, Carr, and Daniel IM, and Marshall’s poor play at CB, probably lucky if that happens. To win at ND you need a superior team and they are probably both about even to the point where the home field location would decide it. And watch out for A-State at their place, they play very well in Tempe and we have suffered there before. Arizona (I believe in the recent past) has played SC hard in the Coliseum, so that one is no gimme either, especially if we come out of ND and Tempe, banged up. Colorado at their place won’t be a cakewalk, and the Ruins who look pretty damn awful can always rise to the occasion in a rivalry game. These next five games are not going to be easy….Texas Hoosier

    • All true! The Huskies learned that there are no gimmies in major college football. You have to fight every week. Sleepwalk through any game (or game week) and you will probably go down. Here’s hoping the Trojans can get in a rhythm and momentum they can ride through all these games. I hope to see Gustin back on Saturday too — waiting for the update on that.

  9. You mean that young receiver that the coach’s supposedly weren’t coaching up and developing? What was his name? Tyler Vaughns?

  10. I spoke to Tyler Vaughns after the game and I had mentioned he could be an All American next year. His response was, this year. He is good.

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