Last Saturday, Aaron Corp etched his name in Trojan lore, giving himself a permanent spot in the memories of the 16,000 students that currently attend the University of Southern California.
Unfortunately, those memories are far from pleasant.
As the Trojans attempted their own version of the Cal-Stanford kick return miracle, and time ran out on the Cardinal and Gold, the entire campus fell into a collective silence, with room for only one question: “Again?”
To say that USC students are disappointed would be an understatement. At a viewing party on campus, the attitude was jovial for much of the game. After all, we are the USC Trojans, we don’t lose to the Washington Huskies.
Friends made jokes about Aaron Corp’s penchant for throwing towards purple jerseys, and how he appears to have been smashed in the face by a brick.
We laughed at how if Pete Carroll even asked Mitch Mustain over to the sideline, the 3rd-string QB would likely saunter over in street clothes, possibly inebriated. The conservative game, which clearly was not working with Corp at the helm, would not have sufficed for Mitch Mustain, according to the party. To hell with slants and screens, Mustain would say, as he chucked every ball downfield to show off his “sex cannon”.
By the end of the game, the jokes were silent. Astute fans started yelling, “Why the expletive would they run with no time left in the first half?” Of course, they were not literally saying expletive. Substitute your choice of 10-20 offensive words, and you get the picture.
Everyone at my game day party was pretty knowledgeable in football—and everyone agreed that Aaron Corp’s complete ineptness cost us the game. Taylor Mays’ backup Drew McAllister played a solid game; there were truly no huge plays that exploited the Trojan’s lack of an All-American safety.
The loss of Barkley was much more devastating, and acute fans immediately pointed their fingers at Corp.
One would think that Corp would be ashamed at his performance, or at least somewhat bothered. After all, he threw for only 110 yards with one of the most complete offenses in the NCAA. He seemed to have a rule that he would only throw at a Trojan who was, at minimum, double covered.
The man was lost, and cost the Trojans another chance at an undefeated season—acknowledged by most USC fans as the only path for a Pac-10 team bid to the Championship.
Thanks to numerous Facebook updates, and even a “Aaron Corp Should Transfer” party that night, I assumed that all of USC was thoroughly infuriated with our backup quarterback’s lack of performance.
I assumed wrong.
Sunday morning, I was chatting with some girls who shared with me a very interesting fact. The night before, on the same date that he royally expletive-d the Trojans’ season, Aaron Corp was seen at a fraternity party, having a jolly ol’ time.
Maybe I am too extreme of a sports addict, but my first inclination would be that a quarterback who single-handedly cost his team a win would be somewhat remorseful. Sure, he could have been drinking his sorrows away. But that’s not what I heard; apparently he was unfazed by the scenario.
Perhaps that speaks to his toughness. After all, they say that the best athletes are able to instantly forget errors. But Corp clearly was rattled during the game. To be completely OK with a loss, as it appeared at the party, is unacceptable for any athlete who takes pride and care in his team.
I may be demanding in saying this, but I’m sure there are fans who would worry if their quarterback was out having a marvelous time partying immediately after a season-changing loss.
Matt Barkley is known on campus for his upstanding behavior. He is not a partyer, and he fully devotes himself to his studies, his faith, and his football. Aaron Corp, take notes. There is a reason you are a backup.