USC football got the ball back with 4:35 left in their contest against Oregon State on Saturday, down 14-10. The drive was having its ups and downs, most recently a down when they were facing a fourth and six at SC's 43-yard line. Caleb Williams was pressured and he had to take off. He was hit with a few more yards to go. It looked like the game was over. SC's offensive line, though, had other plans:
Brett Neilon came CHARGING in and slammed Williams ahead for the first down. Multiple Trojan lineman chipped in to finish the run, not only getting to the marker but pushing the QB a yard past it even. The Trojan O-Line broke down on the play, and Williams was pressured and had to take off. They made up for it, though, in being that last-second engine behind the first-down run for Williams.
The line was struggling all night, which was a big part of why Williams was struggling. Williams completed just 16 tosses out of 36 for 180 yards and one touchdown. He only picked up 27 yards on the ground out of nine attempts. There were full drives where Williams was seemingly running for his life on every play. Everyone came together for that last drive, though, literally.
USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley loved what he saw from the line on that play too:
That truly was the moment where USC football's offense showed what they were made of. They were struggling wildly, of course only having scored 10 points, and coming off of back-to-back three-and-outs. Once Williams looked swallowed up, the O-Line easily could have hung their heads and given up.
But, "those are the moments" where teams show their character. Williams was hurried 11(!) times on the night, and this time, he needed help if he wanted to make lemonade out of lemons on his scramble. The line wasn't going to let their QB go down without moving the chains, though, and without winning this game for him and theirselves.
That's character, and that's chemistry. The guys weren't going to go down, and weren't going to let each other down. USC is now 4-0 on the year, which includes their first two Pac-12 games being on the road against teams they lost to last season.