USC played its crosstown rival UCLA for the 79th time last night. While the Trojans have had three disappointing losses already this season, losing to the Bruins would only make matters worse.
Fortunately for Trojan nation, that would not be the case. As rivalry games go, it was pretty dull.
Both teams traded punts during the first half. It wasn't until the waining seconds of the fourth quarter that the most excitement would come. Leading 21-7 with 54 seconds the Trojans took a knee. This is where the mind games began.
Rick Neuheisel called timeout. Carroll would respond by calling a play instead of taking another knee. The play would result in a 48-yard touchdown catch from Matt Barkley to Damian Williams, much to the shock and excitement of the Coliseum crowd.
As I sat amongst a room full of USC alumni at their Saturday gathering place, I thought to myself why would Carroll do this? It wasn't until they flashed the ad that Neuheisel took out in the Los Angeles Times last summer stating, "The Football Monopoly in Los Angeles is officially over".
It was then I realized why he decided to throw with only 50 seconds remaining.
He may not admit it, but in my opinion that was Pete Carroll's response. Watching Pete Carroll since taking over at USC it is clear he does his talking on the field with his team instead of making statement's in the newspaper.
The usually laid back Carroll showed his enthusiasm after the play by raising both fists in the air and then subtlety pointed at the UCLA sideline.
While SC has dominated the football scene between these two lately, next years game will definitely have some intrigue to it. Like I said, the laid back Carroll made his statement on the field rather than off.
Most would consider what he did rubbing it in, but I would have to say both men knew why they did what they did.
This is a chess match between these two and right now, Carroll has the upper hand. The next move belongs to Neuheisel. Personally I like what Carroll did. I don't consider it running up the score one bit.
Maybe if the score was 50-7, then I'd have a problem with it , but as I said, this is a chess game and Carroll made a brilliant move. It was the defenses job to defend and they failed to do so.
They have no one to blame but themselves. I'm just glad the brawl didn't break out between the two after that had happened. It would've taken away from this rivalry if that had been allowed to happen.
What Carroll did was send a message to Neuheisel. It said "I haven't forgot what you said last August."
Neuheisel shouldn't have done something like that until the Bruins maybe won the Pac-10 or perhaps beat USC for starters. Then maybe he could've taken out that ad after he had accomplished something.
All that ad did was create bulletin board material for Carroll's Trojans. It will be interesting to see what happens between these two when they meet in Pasadena next December.