Last night was exactly what we were anticipating. A heated game back and forth. Sometimes way too fast and at others just flat out in your face offensive football. But hidden in plain sight were also defensive takeaways. A defense that shed itself of all the comments that they are not strong and not capable and took over when it mattered most. The USC Defense is much maligned but when they really needed it they knew how to engage what this season has been remarkable when it comes to bend but don't break and rising to the challenge and taking away an opponent's drive and taking the sword and deeply penetrating the heart and soul of the foe.
UCLA and DTR played well enough to win. But in the end, they failed to respect and their emotional Quarterback let himself drift aware from the game itself and make it very personal. Normally great athletes can use this to their advantage but this young man clearly let it get away from him when it mattered most. I have to tip my hat to DTR for it was obvious he was getting beaten up physically but where he still has growth to work on is his mental state of mind and the game within the game.
The USC offense was humming last night. The receivers were spot-on and Jones, Brown, and Barlow showed up when called on over and over when Coach Riley called their number. Austin Jones can be the guy who proved it all year and last night he put his stamp on the RB room once and for all. Yes, this team will always remember and cherish Travis Dye. Travis is heart and soul and no one can just step in and be what he was. But last night Austin sent a message to his teammates to trust him and go with him.
Last night Caleb Williams punched his airline ticket to NY. Might not win it all but he showed those who vote that he matters and will make it hard on anyone who disagrees. Lincoln Riley has taken a program from the depth of hell to what many are still saying is flat-out a miracle. All those new pieces to a puzzle with no picture to follow on the box top. He said this a year ago and stuck by it to perfection, #WinNow, Simple but that created a sense of urgency to all who chose to come on board whether staff, player, or administration.
THE TRUE HERO
When the dust settles and we look back on this journey regardless of the next few games we have to see one person who rises above it all. A person who stays in the shadows but who had the vision and professionalism to go after the one guy who could execute the effort and vision to restart a once proud tradition that has clearly awoken and will begin its next journey and amazing path to the top of college football. Athletic Director, Michael Bohn is the true architect of this current amazing team and the future is very bright.