Dedicated to the HATRED of all things trOJan


Last-Second SAIL — Minnesota’s Bru-CREW Anthony Barr, Kai Forbath, and Eric Kendricks play crucial ROWS as the Viking Ship stOARms past the Saints into the NFC Championship 29-24, with a final-play, miracle 61-yard Touchdown Pass as time expires;  Meanwhile, time expires on Pittsburgh and ex-trojans Juju Smith-Schuster and Xavier Grimble, thanks to Bruin Myles Jack and the Jaguars

It took a miracle of epic proportions, but the Minnesota Vikings are advancing to the NFL’s version of the Final Four, with their dramatic and improbable 29-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints.  The Vikings’ Defense, led by Bruin Linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, totally dominated the Saints in the first half, taking a 17-0 lead into Halftime.  Late in the first half, the Saints’ QB Drew Brees was driving the team down the field looking for a crucial score, but Barr snagged a tipped pass for an Interception that killed the drive.  Ironically, the ball was tipped by the Vikings’ lone ex-trojan, Everson Griffen.  Griffen also tallied a Sack and forced fumble, but the Saints recovered it.  And Griffen had only ONE other tackle the whole rest of the game.  In contrast, Barr had FOUR Tackles to go with his INT, and Eric Kendricks led all Tacklers with TEN.  Of course, Linebackers are in a position to get more Tackles than Defensive Ends, but still…

Also late in the half, Bruin Kicker Kai Forbath missed a 49-yard Field Goal for the Vikings, which at the time, didn’t seem like a big deal.  But later, in the Second Half, after Drew Brees had rallied the Saints to make a game of it, that Forbath miss looked like it could be the difference in the game.  Even though Forbath redeemed himself by MAKING a 49-yarder in the 4th Quarter to put the Vikes up 20-14, when Brees threw a TD pass with 3:01 left to give the Saints their first lead at 21-20 — over the solid, tight pass defense of Kendricks — it looked like that early miss might haunt Forbath for the rest of the off-season, like that TD would haunt Kendricks.  They both must have been hoping for Kai to get one more chance, and he got it.

With 1:29 left, Forbath lined up for a FIFTY-THREE yard Field Goal, and he nailed it, giving Minnesota a 23-21 lead.  But 1:29 is way too much time to give Brees in crunch time.  Brees promptly drove the Saints into Field Goal range, and with 25 seconds left, New Orleans kicked a 43-yard FG to go back up 24-23.

It looked hopeless for the Vikings, but QB Case Keenum got a completion up to the Minnesota 39-yard line.  Then, after an incompletion, with 10 seconds left and no time outs left, Keenum dropped back for one last prayer.  He heaved the ball deep right, and Stefon Diggs came down with it.  All he had to do was avoid a tackle and get out of bounds to set up a game-winning Field Goal by Forbath, but the defender WHIFFED (trying to avoid a Pass Interference penalty), so Diggs tight-roped the sidelines, and ran it all the way into the end zone for a walk-off Touchdown as the final gun went off.

So the Vikings advance to Philadelphia, where they will play the Eagles with a Super Bowl appearance on the line.  In addition to the three Bruins on Minnesota’s active roster, they also have Bruin Long Snapper Kevin McDermott on injured reserve, so maybe FOUR Bruins can get Super Bowl Rings this year.  The Eagles don’t have any Bruins on their active roster, but Bruin Defensive Back Randall Goforth is on THEIR injured reserve list.

The Eagles do have an ex-trojan on their active roster:  Wide Receiver Nelson Agholar, who was accused of RAPING an exotic dancer a few years back.  That’s one reason why I was rooting for Atlanta on Saturday, but a last-second drop by Julio Jones cost the Falcons — and Bruins Takkarist McKinley and Derrick Coleman — their season.  The only bright side to that heartbreaking loss is that the Falcon’s Offensive Coordinator was exposed as a horrible choker of a playcaller.  That OC is former u$c Head Coach and recovering alcoholic Steve Sarkisian, whom the City of Atlanta is now hoping will go on a bender and take his relapsed ass to any other city.

In the other game on Saturday, the team with a Bruin killed the team with an ex-trojan, as New England (with future Hall of Famer Matthew Slater still on the roster) destroyed Tennessee (and Adoree Jackson), 35-14.   Jackson made only 2 Tackles all game, as the Titan secondary was exposed for the second playoff game in a row (even though they squeaked by KC in the first one).

That brings us back to Sunday.  The early game was Jacksonville at Pittsburgh.  The Jags have 3 Bruins (Myles Jack, Marcedes Lewis, and Eli Ankou), and 1 ex-trojan (Marqise Lee), while the Steelers have 2 ex-trojans, both Receivers (Juju Smith-Schuster and Xavier Grimble).  The Steelers were the favorites, playing at home, but the Jaguars jumped out to an early 21-0 lead, helped by an amazing Interception by Jack, where he had to pull off a remarkable tap dance to keep both feet inbounds.  Jack also finished the game with 6 Tackles and several passes defended.

Pitt came back and made it one hell of a game, and it kept looking like they would surpass the Jags.  But when Jax needed to score, they did, keeping the lead throughout.  In the 4th Quarter, they got ONE stop, and that was on a target of Smith-Schuster, who failed to come up with the pass.  In fact, while the game was still undecided, Juju had NO mojo or juju at all.  Of Ben Roethlisberger’s first FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE yards passing, exactly ONE yard of it went to Smith-Schuster!  Ex-trojan Tight End Xavier Grimble didn’t gain a single yard.  In fact, with 10 seconds left in the game, Big Ben finally targeted Grimble, who failed to make the catch in the end zone, basically clinching the loss.  The next play, with four seconds left, was a meaningless four-yard TD to Smith-Schuster.  It left one second on the clock.  Pitt would have had to recover an onsides kick, and score a TD with that recovery.  It IS possible, as UCLA’s Brandon Breazell did it in a Bowl Game a few years ago, but it would take a miracle for the Steelers to pull that off, and they didn’t.  Final score:  45-42.

Juju set a rookie record for Pitt this year in Receiving yards, but he totally disappeared (“choked?”) in the biggest game of the year.  Now he will have the whole Spring and Summer to contemplate it.  Boo hoo Juju.  However, his ex-trojan counterpart on Jacksonville, Marqise Lee, plays on.  He had a much better game that Juju did, catching a whopping THREE passes for a whole 28 yards!  Actually, they were big catches that extended crucial drives, so hats off to Lee for helping three Bruins advance to the AFC Championship in New England, where they face the tough task of beating Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxboro.  Either way, the ultimate AFC Champ will have a UCLA player on their roster when they go to Minnesota for the Super Bowl.

So, do you root for Jacksonville, who has three Bruins and one ex-trojan, or the Patriots, who have one Bruin who might not even get his name in the box score, while you KNOW that Myles Jack will be an impact player for the Jaguars?  The problem is, if Jax wins, then an ex-trojan could be the Super Bowl MVP, but not if NE knocks them out this Sunday.  Even though we are all sick of the Patriots, at least if they make it to the big game again and win, they have no ex-trojans who could soak up the glory.  My instinct nonetheless is to root for Jax — and Minn — so that there could be SIX Bruins on the field in the Super Bowl.  I would just have to root hard against Lee and Griffen on the day.

Speaking of rooting hard, here are 49 more photos of the UCLA Spirit Squad (mostly the Dance Team), from an event at Venice Beach this past Fall.

"BARR, ‘BATH, AND BEYOND" was published on January 15th, 2018 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, News from the Dark Side, UCLA/usc/Cheerleader Photos.

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