Richard Sherman’s Forgotten Role In Stanford’s 2007 USC Upset

Jan 28, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) is interviewed during Media Day for Super Bowl XLIII at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Whether you love him or hate him, Richard Sherman grabbed all the headlines heading into Super Bowl XLVIII with his explosive post-game interview following Seattle’s 23-17 victory over San Francisco in the NFC Championship game.

It was unforgettable football drama, but here’s something you probably don’t remember about the self-proclaimed “best cornerback in the game”: He cost USC a national championship.

More specifically, as a wide receiver for the Stanford Cardinal in 2007, he caught the improbable pass that set up the winning score in one of the biggest upsets in college football history.

WARNING: Traumatic footage ahead.

Richard Sherman

That’s right. It was the sophomore Sherman who got by Terrell Thomas, withstood a crushing blow from Kevin Ellison and held on to convert fourth and 20 with just under two minutes remaining.

Forty-five seconds later, Stanford quarterback Tavita Pritchard found Mark Bradford in the corner of the endzone on another fourth down for the touchdown pass which put the unranked, 41-point underdog Cardinal up by one over the #2 team in the country.

The loss sent USC tumbling in the rankings and even though the Trojans recovered on route to a Rose Bowl victory and a #3 ranking to end the season, it kept them out of a potential championship match up versus Ohio State.

Sherman eventually switched to cornerback, where he continued to haunt the Trojans, logging a pick six during Stanford’s 2009 55-21 drubbing of USC in Pete Carroll’s final season.

Of course that didn’t stop Carroll from drafting the Stanford graduate in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, or perhaps it encouraged him to take a chance on the underrated corner who had proven his worth against the Trojans time and again.

Luckily for Carroll, Sherman was on his side against former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh this time around and his game-changing play might just deliver a Super Bowl ring for the former USC coach to replace the BCS ring he might have won.

Topics: Football, Pete Carroll, Richard Sherman, USC Trojans

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  • Hank Shaw

    Carroll didn’t offer Sherman a scholarship out of high school either, if I recall. Interesting how things work out.

    • Alicia de Artola

      Carroll recruited Sherman as a cornerback but he wanted to play receiver. It is funny how things work out.

      • Hank Shaw

        Ahhhhh. That’s what it was. Thanks, Alicia.

  • TrojanChuck

    Ugh. Thanks for the reminder. Still can’t believe that game, though it makes me wonder if that was the wake-up call that SC needed that year. After we beat ASU, Herbie said that he thought we were perhaps the best team in the country along with LSU, so maybe that doesn’t happen without a breaking down of confidence?

    • http://fansided.com/ Michael Castillo

      How different does the year play out if Booty was healthy? It would be way different, and I can’t decide if it would be for the positive or the negative.