USC vs UCLA 1988

In the 1988 USC vs UCLA game both teams came in ranked among the top teams in the country and we were coming off a huge 50-0 victory over ASU and were playing our best football of the year.

"In the 1988 USC vs UCLA game both teams came in ranked among the top teams in the country and we were coming off a huge 50-0 victory over ASU and were playing our best football of the year. It was the biggest game of the year coming up and everything was on the line. We were going for the Rose Bowl, it was the Trojans and the Bruins and it had Peete vs Aikman.

On Saturday when we flew home after the ASU game Rodney was fine and when he missed a film session on Sunday we were told he was sick and didn't think it was any big deal. It wasn't until Monday when we found out he had the measles and we were all in shock. It took a little bit of time for us to adjust and it took to the Wednesday practice for us to come to grips with the fact that he might not be able to play. Pat O'Hara had moved in as quarterback but he never started a game at USC and there is always the worry of how a new player will perform under game conditions. To be honest, Pat looked pretty good in practice that week and everybody was able to rally around him to give him some confidence.

By the time Thursday practice came we had made up our minds that we weren't going to let Rodney be an excuse for us not being ready. He was staying at a hospital all week so nobody saw him but the coaches prepared us as best they could by telling us that even if he was able to play that it wouldn't be the same Rodney Peete. They wanted to be ready in case he couldn't speak loud enough to be heard during the game so we worked on having Leroy Holt call the signals from his fullback spot but after one day it was clear we had to scrap that idea. On Friday we heard Rodney was going to be at the hotel that night but we didn't see him until Saturday morning and he looked terrible. Oh man, he looked worn out. I thought there was no way he could play, much less play well.

On the first play of the game Rodney dropped back and hit me with a pass to the sidelines and I knew right then that we would be fine. I said to myself "It's over with".  I knew Rodney was back and from that point on I knew we were going to win. He spent the week going over the game plan in his hospital room and was mentally prepared.  He wasn't as animated on the field as he usually was but his play didn't suffer. That game put us back in the Rose Bowl and really stands out in my mind when I think of the USC vs UCLA rivalry."


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