Adoree' Jackson knew he had been beat.
USC's junior captain went to the sideline where his defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and teammates were waiting to pick him up the way his play has done for them all season.
"[Pendergast] always says try to make more ups than downs," Jackson said on the TrojansLive radio show Monday night. "He just came to me and said, 'That's alright. Let's keep it going.' That's one of the things that you need in the staff and the players were right there welcoming me to make sure that I'm alright. When you have teammates like that and coaches like that, you look forward to those matchups."
Jackson didn't run from the matchup. He embraced it. He told Pendergast before the season that he wanted the challenge of facing each team's top receiver.
"I want to make sure that I’m going against the best and I know everybody else would want to see it," Jackson said. "Just having that drive in me and that killer instinct that I want to have to make sure that I'm going against the best. I'm getting work and he's getting work at the same time, so that was just a great matchup to go against John Ross. That guy is something special."
Ross finished with 154 yards on eight catches and one rush for a loss of eight yards against USC. Jackson drew the matchup probably 70 to 80 percent of the time with Washington moving Ross around to avoid Jackson at times.
But the play that people will remember was the one that Jackson turned to after the game and broadcast himself:
Some people would run from their biggest mistake. Jackson embraced it, which earned him some appreciation from former USC and 49ers great Ronnie Lott:
"Just the nature of being a defensive back, you've got to have short-term memory," Jackson said. "That's why at the interview at the end I said it's not about how you start, it's how you finish. I could have hung my head. I could've gave up and said, 'Nah, Coach, I don't want to stick him no more.' But it's just me going out there and fighting, so I posted a video because I know things happen. It was just me acknowledging it. A lot of people probably would make excuses, but it's me owning up to what happened in the game."
What Jackson did the rest of USC's 26-13 upset of No. 4 Washington on the road earned him some appreciation from the Pacific Club in Newport Beach, which awards the Lott IMPACT Trophy and names a player of the week each week of the college football season. They named Jackson the Lott IMPACT player of the week for the second time this season. Jackson is also a semi-finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is awarded each year to the defensive player who exhibits the best character and performance.
Jackson showed his character after the game with his tweet. He displayed the performance, picking off Jake Browning twice, including one late in the fourth quarter that helped USC seal the deal.
"He is one of the most humble people I’ve been around. Here is a guy that’s a superstar and prior to the game, he’s sitting in his locker reading his Bible," USC head coach Clay Helton said. "Goes out there in that game and wants to be on that stage and not every play is perfect, majority for him are, but there was no question in my mind after that slip up that he was going to come back with a huge play in the game...ends up making a play that ends the ball game for us. You knew he was going to do it. He’s just a special kid."
While Ross got the 70-yard touchdown, Jackson helped thrwart the Huskies' deep passing attack, which had been such a crucial element of their offense.
"It went tit for tat," Helton said. "Think of the big plays down the field and that was a huge part of this. They only get one on the day and they attempted a bunch. Just the closing speed Adoree' has to be able to match up with a guy like that is just unique. We saw over and over in this conference how Ross had just absolutely run by guys so we wanted that matchup with Adoree and it ended up being effective."
On top of his interception, Jackson also had three tackles, a pass defended, three kickoff returns for 59 yards and an eight-yard run on a third down quick pitch that picked up a big first down.
This was Jackson's third award this season. Along with his previous Lott IMPACT Player of the Week honor after the Colorado game, he was also named the Pac-12 Player of the Week following the Utah State game in Week 2.
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