After a week’s worth of attention (and a steady stream of Rose Bowl repeats on ESPN Classic), USC and Ohio State finally get to settle their score on the field.
(SbB Girl Cecilia is all set for the Coliseum smackdown to commence)
And Brooks is there, taking in all the sights and sounds of the Coliseum scene on this serene Saturday evening.
Will the Trojans bounce the Buckeyes from national championship contention? Or can Jim Tressel turn into a Jim Harbaugh and escape L.A. with an unexpected victory?
Brooks’ seats for the USC-Ohio State game were provided by My Boy Barry.
Now let’s get this SoCal party started!
Before kickoff, Brooks took a pre-game tour among the partying masses, and came across some familiar hardware:
And which Trojans titan took home this particular Heisman?
Killer discovery, Brooks!
In the meantime, USC fans offer some encouraging words to fallen foe Chris Wells:
Who says sportsmanship is dead?
Although no one outside of Columbus is giving OSU a chance, the Bucks did score one victory this evening - Erin Andrews will be reporting from their sidelines.
But that might be the only victory all night. In a likely harbringer of things to come, USC wins the coin toss.
And awaaaaaaayyyyy we go:
OSU gets the ball fist, starts from their own 13. Not surprisingly, it’s a three-and-out.
Trojans’ turn. Somewhat surprisingly, it’s another three-and-out. Both teams must have a case of primetime butterflies in the stomach.
Terrelle Pryor make his Hollywood debut. Runs for a few yards, and quickly exits stage right.
Of course, it’s understandable how both teams would be playing nervously and cautiously, what with all the Tinseltown stars packing the Coliseum rafters. Why, as Brooks spots, there’s Rick Reilly grabbing some concessions:
Could you grab us some kettlecorn, Rick? Thanks!
Well, the Buckeye version of musical QBs starring Terrelle and Todd Boeckman seems to be working. OSU drives down the field deep into Trojan territory. But the Cardinal & Gold buckle down and keep T & T out of the end zone.
But they don’t keep the Bucks off the scoreboard, as OSU draws first blood with a FG. 3-0 Ohio State.
And with a break in the action, Brooks chimes in with his first eyewitness report:
Quiet tailgating today. No fights. Bummer.
Oh and I forgot, we did see one A-list celeb before kickoff: Colin Cowherd.
The OSU fan area is to my right. Corner of the stadium about a mile from the field. OSU didn’t bring its band.
Wow, Reilly AND Cowherd. The stars certainly are shining tonight.
Now USC’s turn to counter. And Mark Sanchez does not disappoint - tossing a perfect pass to Stanley Havili, who takes it to the house. PAT Good. 7-3 Southern Cal.
Just before the TD throw, Brooks sent this message:
USC crowd seems a little lethargic.
Well, that 6-point pass should wake them up. And we have completed our first quarter of fascinating football. After one, it’s Southern Cal 7, THE Ohio State University 3.
OSU’s turn to respond, and they do so with their second three-and-out. No wonder - they forgot to alternate QBs in this series.
USC gets it back, and Ryan McKnight gets things moving with a nice long run. Helped by a screen pass to Havili & a roughing-the-passer penalty, Sanchez finds paydirt again with a nice play-action to Blake Ayles. 14-3 Southern Cal.
With another Trojan TD, Brooks adds his thoughts:
This game is going to be slow death for Ohio State if Tressel doesn’t play Pryor every down.
Speaking of Pryor, think he’s happy he picked OSU over UM today?
Sanchez looks like a different person from last year. Hello Heisman!
OSU’s ball, and Boeckman does toss a few nice ones down the field. But the yellow laundry is making Tressel see red. A 1st & goal throw to Ray Small and a TD pass to Brian Robiskie are both negated by holding penalties. And wouldn’t you know it, Ryan Pretorius proceeds to miss a 46-yd FG attempt.
Pretty lame AFLAC trivia question offered during the telecast: “What two players kept Matt Cassel on the bench during his USC playing days?”
Of all the history between these teams (as pounded into our heads all week by the ESPN family of networks), this is the best AFLAC can come up with? I’m not going to even dignify that question with an answer.
Well, such a headscratcher was enough to distract us from a quick USC possession, and the Buckeyes get the ball back deep in their own territory.
Now OSU is in really deep doo-doo, as Ray Maualuga just took back a pick-six. But hold the phone, Ray may have stepped out.
However, the replay booth sides with Ray. Time to bench Boeckman for good? 21-3 Southern Cal.
Brooks calls in from the Coliseum:
Just announced UCLA score. Largest cheer of the night so far. Only score PA has given in two hours.
Well, hearing the Notre Dame score certainly wouldn’t cheer the Trojans up.
But Brooks does add some good news for the Coliseum crowd:
On the bright side tonight it doesn’t look like those with bladder control problems at the Coli will miss much on the field tonight.
Speaking of misses, one of the OSU linemen must have missed a key block, as Clay Matthews came in untouched to blindside Boeckman, causing a fumble with USC recovering.
However, just when it looked like the Trojans were about to punch another one in, OSU DB Chimdi Chekwa snags one from Sanchez. With the last-minute interception, the rout isn’t on just quite yet.
So after one half of play, it’s the University of Southern California 21, THE Ohio State University 3.
And now for your SbB halftime entertainment, something for all you coconut-loving Little Buddies out there:
At the moment, we bet Boeckman feels like he would rather be on an unchartered desert isle.
And another celebrity sighting from Brooks:
First Half Highlight: The Fonz on the sideline. Crowd went berserk when they showed Henry Winkler on the sideline. He looks to be about 5,000 years old.
Well, all those seasons saying “Ayyyyyyyyyyy” can take a lot out of a person.
Although it may appear that USC is just one more Sanchez strike away from running away with the game, we doubt anyone’s gonna head out early - especially considering what some motorists paid for parking:
$75!?!?! Hopefully Rick Reilly did valet.
OK, let’s get back to action:
Erin Andrews informs us that the Ohio State coaches spent their halftime telling their players to calm down. Maybe pop a valium or two?
Must have worked - USC was stopped at the OSU 40 and punted away. But once again, the Bucks are backed up.
And also once again, Boeckman gets smothered by a sack, and the Trojans retain post-punt possession with some pretty good field position.
Looks like the Trojans are already trying to run out the clock by sticking to the ground game - although it’s only halfway through the 3rd quarter.
And of course, as soon as I type that, Sanchez throws a 24-yard TD pass to Damian Williams. That’s the great thing about USC - you never know what they’ll do next! 28-3 Southern Cal.
(Brooks grabs a shot of the Coliseum scoreboard with the awe-inspiring L.A. skyline in the background)
And yet another celebrity spotting by Brooks - “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush, the guy Billy Crystal has called “the most annoying man in show business.”
Erin Andrews reports that some of the players on the Ohio State sideline seem “defeated”. When even the sight of Erin strolling along your sideline can’t raise your spirits, then it’s time to pack it in.
Boeckman must have heard me, since he took yet another sack.
Er, make that *two* straight sacks. Brooks is right - time to get Terelle in there for the long-term - at least for tonight.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the field, Lisa Salters shares some words from Sanchez, in case anyone’s wondering if the Trojans will let up: “This ain’t it. We’re not done.”
And they’re obviously not, although Ohio State certainly seems so. Damian Williams snags his second TD reception - completely wide open in the end zone, mind you. 35-3 Southern Cal.
Now things are getting out of hand - Brent Musberger has started talking to Traveler, USC’s horse. If Traveler talks back, we’re in trouble.
Terelle Pryor now behind center, and seems to be staying there. No matter the QB, the USC D still takes him down - but at least Terelle’s scrambling ability gets him back to the line of scrimmage.
And with that, this game is 75% in the books. After 3, ’tis Southern Cal 35, Ohio State 3.
Despite the beginnings of blowout, Brooks notes that the Coliseum stands remain quite full:
35-3 but shockingly not many folks leaving yet. I think people aren’t leaving because they paid so much for their tix.
And for other high-priced reasons, too.
USC’s next series is short-lived, so the Buckeyes get the ball back. Boeckman’s back in, and gets intercepted on his first throw. But of course.
Trojans up 35-3, 4th & 3 inside the red zone, but no FG attempts here - they’re going for it. However, USC is punished for its greed, and Sanchez gets sacked at the 29. That’ll learn ‘em!
Another celeb sight from Brooks:
Greg Oden with mountain man beard on sideline.
Since his knee’s all healed up, maybe the Buckeyes can bring him in for a play or two - a slam dunk over the crossbar or something. But Brooks is saddened he hasn’t seen one particular “star”:
I’m just pissed they haven’t shown Nick Lachey yet.
Aren’t we all.
Musberger just mentioned the Wisconsin-Fresno State game going on “up the coast in Fresno”. Point of contention here - Fresno is not up the coast from L.A. - it’s about 100 miles inland from the Pacific. The proper syntax should be to say that Fresno is “up the valley”. That’s why they wear that big green “V” on the back of their helmets. Brent really should no better.
Brooks & Brent both announce that tonight’s attendance is 93,607 - the most fannies to fill the Coliseum seats since the ‘99 game vs. UCLA. So the concession stands must have cleaned up tonight - of course, Rick Reilly really helped.
Sanchez is now on the sidelines - probably to hang out with all those hot celebs - and Aaron Corp gets to see some QB action. So far, AC’s doing an exceptional job handing off - we just might have the next Matt Cassel here!
Sure, there’s still five minutes left to go, but put a fork in this baby, it’s done. Brent & Kirk Herbstreit are already chatting about next week’s ABC primetime telecast, when Georgia travels to Tempe to play Arizona State. Hopefully that will be a closer matchup. The Bulldogs seem game for a nailbiter, considering they squeaked past South Carolina today.
(In other SEC head-to-head action, Auburn got by Mississippi State in shootout - 3-2. That’s not their record, that was the final score.)
Now they’ve mentioned the Outback Steakhouse blimp “Bloomin’ Onion One” for the umpteenth time tonight. Wish they wouldn’t - it’s making me hungry. Unless that’s their evil plan all along! Damn you, Outback, for your deliciously greasy appetizers!
And that will do it. The Trojans dogged OSU all night. So, your final score: Southern Cal 35, Ohio State 3.
After the game, Sanchez chatted with Lisa Salters, and said the obligatory post-game comments (glad to win, everyone did great, etc.), but did mention something that should bring a slight sight of relief to Trojans fans. Lisa asked him about his knee, but Mark maintained that the icepack on the joint was “just a precautionary measure”.
And Mark will have plenty of time to recuperate, as USC doesn’t take the field again until Thursday, September 25, when they travel to Oregon State. But remember what happened the last time the Trojans took a trip to Corvallis - a 33-31 shocker.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes get to face the Trojans again next week. Are they gluttons for punishment? Not quite - they’ll be hosting the Trojans of Troy University, who’ll also face OSU with a perfect record.
That’ll just about do it from SbB Blog Central. Stay tuned for your late local news - or switch over to a more entertaining game featuring Big Ten & California-based teams.