Choking a gift horse in the mouth — Trojan “stars” Kessler and Smith-Schuster both totally choke in the final 30 seconds of the Holiday Bowl, allowing Wisconsin to salvage a 23-21 victory, DESPITE a Badgers’ game-winning Touchdown being disallowed on a blatantly BLOWN CALL
For a while, it looked like it was going to happen again: The trojans would get an undeserved win due to an obviously WRONG call by the referees. With the trojans up on Wisconsin with 9 minutes to go in the 4th quarter 21-20, a Badger runner breaks free down the sidelines for a 73-yard Touchdown run. But as he rambled for the score, a blind (or crooked) Ref blew his whistle, ending the play, on the faulty belief that the ballcarrier stepped out of bounds. Because the whistle sounded, the play was not reviewable. Of course, the Nation saw what the TV announcers confirmed: It wasn’t even close. The video evidence was irrefutable and indisputable — the Badger’s shoe did not touch the out-of-bounds line.
After this egregiously-blown call, the drive stalled and Wisky had to punt. All the trojans had to do was kill 6 minutes, but instead, they went three-and-out, giving Wisconsin another chance. This time, they marched into field goal range, and took the lead 23-21. But they scored so quickly, sc QB Cody Kessler still had over 2 minutes to get the trojans in range for a game-winning Field Goal.
Kessler had been an unspectacular game-manager throughout the night, with no Turnovers all game. His only Senior moment thus far was a bizarre sequence in the 3rd quarter, where he was SACKED on three consecutive plays, all by the same player, Jack Cichy. But he came back from that clown car sequence, to lead sc to a 4th quarter TD that gave sc a 21-20 lead. So with 2:27 left, there was no reason to assume that he wouldn’t march sc down the field for a win. But on the third play of the drive, a 1st and 10, Cichy got into the backfield again, Kessler panicked like a little girl on the set of Glee, and threw a horrible Interception right into the arms of an awaiting Badger. Choke-arama! But, believe it or not, Kessler and the trojans weren’t done choking.
The Badgers failed to get a first down, so they had to punt it back. And the trojan choking continued. On the punt, trojan special teams player Don Hill physically assaulted a Badger on the ground after the kick. He was on top of him, threatening him menacingly like he was gonna punch him in the face, and the players had to be separated. A Personal Foul was called on Hill (and not on his victim), and that moved the ball back to the trojan 10-yard line. He was very lucky that the trojans even got to keep the ball, because they said it was “after the play,” but the transgression occurred right at the tail end of the play. After the kick, yes, but not after the play. So you’d have to check the rule book, but maybe it should have been first down Badgers, and game over?
Anyway, the trojans still had life, with 35 seconds left, just needing a FG to win. Kessler quickly hit on three passes that moved them to the 50-yard line, still with time to operate. On 3rd down, with 12 seconds left, Juju Smith-Schuster — the trojans’ best player — got separation deep down the sidelines, and Kessler hit him in his hands as Juju dived for the ball. But, inexplicably, the trojan “god” SHORT-ARMED IT!!! He pulled the old “alligator arms” routine, not extending his arms to make the catch. So instead of a nice, game-winning catch (they would have been in range for a chip-shot FG), the ball deflected harmlessly off the sudden T-Rex’s fingers for an incomplete pass. Choke-a-loka!
But it STILL wasn’t over. SC had 7 seconds left. But it was 4th and 10. So they had to try a hail mary, OR, get a first down, and get out of bounds, to try a field goal or attempt a hail mary with a second or two left. That’s when Kessler pulled one of the biggest boners of his career: He threw a SEVEN-YARD out pattern. The Receiver was out of bounds, so the pass was incomplete, but the joke is that even if he caught it inbounds, it was still 3 yards short of the first down, so the game would have been over anyway! What the hell was Kessler thinking?? Didn’t Head Clown Clay Helton instruct him that it was 4th down? Didn’t either one of them know the game situation? I call that an all-around choke! Choke-a-loka-ding-dong!!
One excuse the trojans have for losing this game, against an unranked team that hadn’t beaten a team with a winning record all season — was the absence of one of the Offensive Linemen: Chad Wheeler. Where was Chad, you ask? Injured? Not quite. Actually, he was unavailable, after an incident on December 19th, where he went nuts, APPEARING to be under the influence, as he punched walls and windows, and had to be subdued by the Police, who shot hit with beanbag guns. Chad was not arrested for some strange reason; Instead, he was taken in for psychiatric evaluation. So I will refrain from judgment, because he suffered a concussion earlier this season, so it may not be illegal/psychedelic drugs or alcohol poisoning — he may have brain damage.
Of course anyone who chooses to attend u$c could have brain damage — either that or they are offered a deal that they ju$t can’t refu$e. And NOW, another reason to select ANY other school: $c has coaching turnover and chaos, and is now coming off a SIX-LOSS season.