Stanford 24, USC 23
I didn’t watch this game live. What was the point? Stanford’s been playing at the absolute bottom of the PAC-10, their sole win this season coming in a non-conference game against San Jose State. It’s never fun to watch your team play poorly, especially when they’re likely to be manhandled by a powerhouse team like USC.
To add injury to insult, T.C. Ostrander (Stanford’s starting QB) was sidelined by a seizure earlier in the week, so Tavita Pritchard made his first start as QB in an NCAA game. Before the USC game, Pritchard had made a grand total of three passes for Stanford. So the 41-point spread didn’t really seem too farfetched.
Of course, the outcome of the game is now the biggest sports story of the weekend. Thank God Jason had the game on PVR, so I got a chance to see what I’d missed. I’m not going to even try to give a blow-by-blow breakdown of the game, but I do have to say that despite the freakishness of this win (I don’t expect to see Stanford steadily climbing through the ranks of the PAC-10 over the rest of the season), this wasn’t entirely a case of USC beating themselves.
Yes, there were dropped passes that probably cost the Trojans around 10 points. But Stanford’s defense was phenomenal, including two HUGE plays: a blocked field goal on USC’s first TD that made this game a legendary upset instead of just a cautionary dodged-bullet tale in overtime, and an incredible goal-line stand preventing USC from scoring just before the end of the half.
Given the rivers of ink that have been spilled over this story, there’s not much I could say that hasn’t been said already. Instead, I’ll turn things over to the sports press. Here are a few gems from the deluge of stories predicting, analyzing, and interpreting the game:
THE DAYS BEFORE
In the San Jose Mercury News:
“Can we all agree that Stanford has zero chance to win? I mean, it’s possible, in the same way hitting the Lottery is possible. But in the real world, we’re talking 45-3, 55-6 … something along those lines.”
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
“There is, of course, a chance that USC could lose, a chance so small that nobody can see it without possessing a Stanford football scholarship… there is no really defensible reason to think this won’t be a rout. The size of said rout is the size of Carroll’s appetite… 77-0? 103-0? A thousand to nothing?”
And the Daily Trojan reported:
“I’m not worried about it at all,” USC coach Pete Carroll said…”We’re going to dig in and have some fun playing football right here in front of our hometown fans.”
College Football News gushes :
“Never has this sport — in its 138 year history — witnessed an eye-popping earthquake of a result such as this one.”
The Seattle Times points out that there are probably a few screenwriters in Hollywood working on an adaptation for the silver screen:
“the biggest known spread in a Pac-10 game — never mind an upset — was the 42 ½ by the Washington national champions of 1991 against Oregon State. (The Huskies obliged, 58-6.)”
CBS Sports is flabbergasted by the impossible:
“Losing to a 7-6 UCLA team is one thing. Losing to a pulseless cellar dweller at home is indefensible.”
… and you can read about 100 other stories covering the game here.
Midnight @ Stanford
Jim Harbaugh’s speech
USC post-game Press conference
In which Pete Carroll reveals, “This is unexpected for us. In my mind I really don’t accept it, I don’t know where to put it, it doesn’t fit. There’s no place for it.” And defensive end Lawrence Jackson offers a quote that really illustrates how denial is indeed the first stage of grief: “It was not about Stanford out there tonight. It was about us. You could have played QB today and had some success.”
Posted in The sporting life