We had initially planned to put this up sooner, but with the basketball team doing better than expected, we decided to wait.
Paragon and I have picked out 5 clips from YouTube for the 2006 football season that we enjoyed. Take a look, and use the poll to vote for your favorite. If you have a clip that you'd like to throw in for consideration, drop the link in the comments section.
We'll run a "readers' choice" poll in a few days, and then put the two poll winners head to head. Anything to work our way through the post-season...
Maualuga hit on Patrick Cowan
There's not a great deal that can be said about the 2006 game against UCLA that is very positive for USC. Frequently outplayed and largely outcoached, the Trojans couldn't quite execute, least of all in stopping Patrick Cowan's running. However, on this play, Rey Maualuga, closely followed by Dallas Sartz, gave Cowan something to think about -- specifically, the next day, whether or not he was completely remembering the third grade... Full points to young Mr Cowan for getting back up promptly. I would have cried like a baby.
Turner TD against Arkansas
The Trojans opener against Arkanasas had a hint of menace about it -- no Leinart, Bush, or White, and an opponent who wanted to prove that giving up 70 in 2005 was a fluke. The Trojans slogged their way to a 3 - 0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and a 16 - 7 lead at the half. The offense was looking a bit sluggish, and then Booty and Turned combined for a touchdown that was the beginning of a second-half dismantling of the Hogs. Turner, who looks a bit Jarrett-esque, pulled off a beauty of a catch in double-coverage in the end zone -- exactly the kind of catch he'll need to make many times in 2007 -- and the Trojans never really looked back.
DeSean Jackson gets drilled
The Cal game brought a couple of questions for USC's rapidly improving defense: could they contain Marshawn Lynch, and could they stop Nate Longshore and DeSean Jackson from killing them on deep plays into the secondary? On Cal's first possession, they spent 4 minutes working their way from their own 20 to the USC 46, and faced 3rd and 6 there. On the third down play, the Trojans brought pressure, Longshore rolled (hurried?) left to get a pass off to Jackson, and Jackson got absolutely levelled. This, I think, was the first sign that this was going to be a hard-fought, low-scoring game, and that the defense for USC was really starting to grow into the job. Oh, and that Jackson was going to need some Advil later on.
Steve Smith TD Against Cal
By the 8.30 mark in the 4th quarter, USC had only a touchdown lead against Cal at 16 - 9, so at 4th & 2 on the Cal 37 there was no question that Carroll et al were going to go for it -- a field goal really wasn't going to be enough. USC had Gable lined up in the I, and Cal brought their secondary forward to try and work the run. Smith went in motion, and frankly the Cal players just lost him -- the last one to watch Smith go by, Hughes, was the only one to realize that there was blown coverage, but it was too late. That gave the Trojans some breathing room in case the Defense lost any steam against Cal... which they didn't until garbage time and the arrival of the defensive second string.
Dwayne Jarrett TDs against Notre Dame
Slightly unfair as this is much longer than the others. And more entertaining too. What a game for Jarrett. The first touchdown, on USC's first possession, showed how much stronger Jarrett had become in his third year after recovering from injury. He caught the pass in the air just inside the end zone and effectively avoided being pushed out by the Notre Dame defender. The second touchdown was vintage Jarrett; he went airborne in the end zone and there wasn't really anything that the Notre Dame defender - 6" shorter if you believe the commentators -- could do about it.
And then there was the third touchdown. The nuts and bolts of it is that the Notre Dame secondary botched the coverage, Booty threw to a wide-open Jarrett, Jarrett knocked over the Notre Dame player trying to tackle him (Richardson?) and then flies off to the end zone, catching a block by Smith. Notre Dame stalwarts Blue Gray Sky were so appalled that afterwards they actually mapped it out (SC Drive 11). While I certainly understand the extent to which people are enamored of Calvin Johnson -- he is amazing, after all -- this thrid touchdown should be Exhibit 1 for everyone who says that Jarrett is not fast enough and not big enough to cope with the pros...