Clay Nation — After u$c chokes away a 4th quarter lead against Notre Dame due to bad play calling and poor game management, Bruin fans should start a campaign to get woozy Haden to lift Head Coach Clay Helton’s “interim” tag
What a fortnight for the trojans. First they lose to unranked Washington to fall to 3-2. Then their Head Coach shows up wasted to a meeting, and is escorted off campus. Then they put him on an indefinite Leave of Absence, and a day later, terminate his employment. Then they name O.C. Clay Helton interim Head Coach. Then Pat Haden collapses on the sidelines (alcohol blackout??), and then Helton promptly leads the team to a come-from-ahead depressing loss to their other Rival, Notre Dame, whom they destroyed last year with basically the same players. Haden is okay, by the way, until someone tells him what happened while he was resting. Hopefully, no one will tell him and he will still be married to Helton as Head Coach.
Sc started the game on fire, with a long drive for a TD and a 7-0 lead. Then Notre Dame erupted, taking a 21-10 lead, running and passing all over the trojan D. They were about to take a 28-10 lead in the second quarter, but former Angel Torii Hunter’s son fumbled the ball into the end zone, rejuvenating sc.
The trojans came back like a team that could obliterate UCLA in 6 weeks, scoring 21 straight to take a 31-24 lead in the 3rd. But Notre Dame showed heart and character, coming back with two long drives to go up 38-31. SC still had plenty of time, but right as the announcers were singing the praises of QB Cody Kessler, for being so good at protecting the ball, Kessler threw two quick Interceptions. Between INT’s, the Irish added a Field Goal to go up by 10, but SC still had time to come back, even after the second pick. But that’s when Helton (and Kessler) failed the team. A series of runs and useless short passes over the middle used up the clock, and failed to get the trojans into scoring position. The trojans needed two scores, but couldn’t even get one.
The good news is that u$c lost 41-31, and fell to 3-3 on the season. Their hopes for National significance is now over. The bad news is that this loss hurts Helton’s chance of being retained as the permanent Head Coach. Not only was his late-game Coaching poor, but he also has no “buzz” recruiting-wise, so I’d love to see him get the full-time gig, blocking a much bigger name from taking over. But there is worse news: SC’s explosiveness during their run in this game, which featured Juju Smith-Shuster and Adoree Jackson, makes SC look like they are miles ahead of a Myles-less Bruin team. If these two teams met THIS week at the Coliseum, I would make the trojans a 10-point favorite. The Bruins’ Defense will really have to gel by then, in order to stop SC at all. And I think the key will be Deon Hollins and the pass rush. Kessler becomes less than mortal when he is heavily pressured. No matter what, I do NOT expect to roll over them like we have the last three years, especially not in THEIR house. Jim Mora, Tom Bradley and company have a lot of work to do before November 28th. Unfortunately, they have to also worry about the 5 games in between. 🙂
Now here are 46 more UCLA Spirit Squad photos, but first, one other note: Former trojan thug and current Green Bay Packer Clay Mathews was fined over $17,000 this week, for a dirty, late hit he threw last week. Sometimes it’s hard to unlearn bad habits.