You know, we could talk about how this weekend’s victory was over a very crippled Notre Dame team, how they are about on par with quality with the weaker Pac-12 teams that the Trojans bowled over this year, how it doesn’t buck the trend of Cody Kessler and the offense getting big numbers against paper tigers but failing to do much against solid opponents.
But let’s not. Let’s just take the win.
There is nothing worse than losing to UCLA and nothing better than beating Notre Dame. — John McKay
By far, this is the most satisfying victory that the Trojans have had all season. It didn’t have the thrilling elation of the Stanford upset last year or the sweet feeling of completely crushing your enemy that the 50-0 game had, but USC’s five-score roll of the Fighting Irish definitely had a satisfying tone from start to finish for both the team and the fans.
No matter what happens in a season, a victory in a rivalry game will always be appreciated.
The game served as a beautiful curtain call for the seniors on the team, with many getting big moments in the spotlight.
Randall Telfer caught a touchdown, J.R. Tavai made 3.5 sacks and forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow senior Hayes Pullard.Even reserve walk-on QB Anthony Neyer got a chance at the very end to finally play in the Coliseum. When he ran a sneak play for a first down, the entire student section burst out into “MVP” chants.
Beyond the on-field action, the game also became a homecoming for generations upon generations of Trojan legends.
Matt Leinart and Marcus Allen were in attendance, their Heismans taken into the Coliseum for them to show off to friends and fans. Members of the 1964 and 1974 football teams, both of which earned legendary wins against the Irish, joined Pat Haden and J.K. McKay on the field.
But perhaps the most emotional moment was during halftime, when the USC marching band paid tribute to the late Trojan legend Louis Zamperini. It was easily the most creative and inspired show the USC band has put on in years, featuring big band numbers and a formation of a stick figure carrying the Olympic torch.
In a season filled with scandal, terrible losses, and obnoxious ESPN gasbags making snide remarks about the program, it was nice to have a Senior Day where USC put its best foot forward in every way possible. The Trojans ended the 2014 regular season with a rivalry victory in the program’s 1,200th game on a Thanksgiving weekend that had the weather and vibe of a September season opener.
For a shining moment, fans could stop thinking about what might have been this year and what could be in the future. This was the true end of the Sanctions Era, and a period of rebuilding and retooling now awaits for the Men of Troy.
More from Reign of Troy
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- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers