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SC SUCKS, 24-7 (…365)

Cotton Bawl — Trojan fans are crying as their team totally chokes in the Cotton Bowl to Ohio State 24-7; SC managed to score only once, after a muff gifted them the ball at the Buckeye 15-yard line, otherwise, over-rated QB Sam Darnold committed 3 Turnovers including a Pick 6, and allowed himself to be sacked EIGHT times, in a total blowout that allowed the OSU Offense to drive in cruise control for the entire second half

u$c started the season with National Title expectations, with a Heisman Favorite at the helm.  How did that work out for them?  Let’s just say that they failed to reach those expectations.  Miserably.  A shocking loss to Washington State, a nasty spanking at the hands of rival Notre Dame, and finally an annihilation in Prime Time to Ohio State makes the Championship dreams seem so ludicrous in retrospect.  And as far as that Heisman — Quarterback Sam Darnold DID lead the Country in one category:  Turnovers!  After his disastrous 3-Turnover performance in the 24-7 Cotton Bowl defeat, he ended the year with TWENTY-TWO giveaways.  NOT ONE SINGLE PLAYER in the entire Nation had more.

It is undetermined if Samantha will return to “school” for another go-round, or whether he will take a pay cut, and turn Pro early, where he might even be the first pick in the draft.  Of course, that honor is actually a curse this coming year, since the hapless Cleveland Browns own that pick.  Usually I would hope that Josh Rosen (assuming he declares for the Draft) gets selected prior to his trojan counterpart, but I would never wish that organization on someone I like, so now I’m rooting for Darnold to declare, and earn the love of Cleveland.  After all, Cleveland is where former trojan QB Cody Kessler went to die.

However, Sammy going #1 seems unlikely now.  Darnold was SO pathetic on Friday night, that he may decide to stay at SC, just to redeem himself after this debacle.  And if he does decide to come out anyway, it’s highly improbable that the Browns would waste a number one pick on him.  He looked lost against a Defense that wasn’t physically overwhelmed by the massive trojan Offensive Line.  He threw a Pick Six, he lost two fumbles, and he failed to avoid the rush 8 times.  It’s been decades since a troy QB got sacked 8 times.  You really have to suck to do that.  Even if the Defense is dominating the line of scrimmage, or if the blitzes aren’t being picked up, the QB should still be able to audible to screens, or throw the ball away.  Was Darnold just too stupid to read the Defense, too stubborn, too arrogant, or just too rattled to use his previously-impressive elusiveness to survive the rush?

The trojans’ first miscue wasn’t Darnold’s.  That award goes to Deontay Burnett, who fumbled the ball away on the third play of the game.  The Buckeyes converted it into a Touchdown to go up 7-0 before the game’s first commercial break.  After a few punts, OSU added a Field Goal, which made it 10-0 early in the 2nd quarter.  One play later, Darnold threw an inexcusable Interception which was returned for a 23-yard TD.  Darnold took his eye off the coverage, locked in on his Receiver, and never saw the defender who easily stepped right into the Pick and waltzed into the end zone.  17-0.  A few minutes later, Darnold got sacked, fumbled, and OSU scored two plays later, making in 24-0, still in the first half!

Could sc muster an answer before the break?  Not without help.  They failed once again to move the ball, but their punt was muffed by a Buckeye, at the OSU 15.  Sc was finally able to activate the scoreboard, as their one and only TD drive was measured at a measly 15 yards.

So it was 24-7 at Intermission, with OSU receiving in the second half.  OSU played it safe for the whole second half, milking the lead, knowing that Darnold was not a serious threat to put 17 more points on the board.  So while OSU failed to score after the half, it hardly mattered, as sc was impotent.  They even clanked an easy  Field Goal off the goal post.  In the 4th quarter, it took TWO Ohio State Defensive penalties to finally allow sc to sustain a drive, but just when it looked like sc may mount a dramatic comeback, Darnold fumbled AGAIN, and OSU recovered, with about 8 minutes left, basically clinching the game.

Darnold was the goat, plain and simple, and I don’t mean “Greatest Of All Time.”  You can also blame the troy Offensive Line, but this loss has to be pinned on Darnold.  Don’t let his 356 yards passing fool you — Most of that came against a soft prevent-type, bend-but-don’t-break Defense, which also happened to be missing its All-American Defensive Back Denzel Ward, who, moments before Kickoff, declared for the Draft and announced he was skipping the game. Not only that, but it took three spectacular circus catches of inaccurate throws to notch those 356 yards.  UCLA and Chip Kelly must take note — If Darnold does return, he is far from infallible, is erratic, and can be rattled by pressure.  Just contain him and don’t let him scramble downfield.  If you do all that, he is an All-American Turnover Machine.

Speaking of choking trojans, their highly-regarded Basketball Team, in front of virtually NO fans at the Galen Center (they were all home watching the Football team humiliate themselves), choked against 13-point underdog Washington 88-81.  The trojan hoopsters allowed the Huskies to hit a remarkable two-thirds of their shot attempts.  The trojans COULD have overcome such hot shooting if they were somewhat on target themselves, but sc went a cool 3-for-20 from behind the arc (15%).

Meanwhile, across town, UCLA’s Aaron Holiday hit more three’s by himself than the entire u$c team.  Holiday had a career game, scoring a career-high 33 Points (23 in the first half), going 5-for-5 from Downtown.  Aaron also had a career-high 11 Rebounds, and 4 Assists.  Thomas Welsh also had a Double-Double (12-14) in a tough victory over Washington State, 96-82.  The game was a lot closer than the final score makes it look.  WSU hit 14 Three’s (one Coug had 5), and it was a two-possession game with 6:11 left.  That’s when Jaylen Hands hit a huge perimeter J for 3 of his crucial 19 Points, SIXTEEN of which came after Intermission.

So how often do you have ONE NIGHT with a trojan Football BOWL GAME LOSS, a Bruin Basketball WIN, and a trojan Basketball UPSET LOSS?  That’s a trifecta to savor!  Happy Freaking Holidays (!), with a guy NAMED “Holiday” being the Bruin STAR!

In honor of this memorable and wonderful night, here are 49 more never-before-seen photos of the UCLA Spirit Squad.  These were all taken at the UCLA-Hawaii Football game earlier this year.

"SC SUCKS, 24-7 (…365)" was published on December 30th, 2017 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, News from the Dark Side, UCLA/usc/Cheerleader Photos.

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