O/NSO - Michigan review

Did you hear it, Columbus and Gainesville? Proclaiming loudly over the Rose Bowl public address system and to an ABC audience that "we can play with anybody," Pete Carroll's 2006 USC Trojans (11-2) literally passed their opening test of 2007 with a resounding 32-18 shellacking of the proud Michigan Wolverines (11-2) before 93,852 in the 93rd Rose Bowl Game.

The ObviousPasadena, Ca. – Did you hear it, Columbus and Gainesville? Proclaiming loudly over the Rose Bowl public address system and to an ABC audience that "we can play with anybody," Pete Carroll's 2006 USC Trojans (11-2) literally passed their opening test of 2007 with a resounding 32-18 shellacking of the proud Michigan Wolverines (11-2) before 93,852 in the 93rd Rose Bowl Game.

The Not So Obvious – The mystique is back. Cancel the Fall of Troy celebration Baton Rouge. Traveler rides again. Get ready for the Men of Troy to be the 2007 pre-season No. 1 team in the nation All is now right in the world of college football, at least in the eyes of Cardinal and Gold fans, who saw a second half performance by their darlings that was very much on par with the national championship teams of the recent past. Talk about your momentum heading into next season? Call out the trumpeters, roll out the Cardinal and Gold carpet, and bring in another truckload of blue chippers from the U.S. Army All-American game. With a plethora of returning talent, it's all ready for a banner 2007 run.

The Obvious – The national media was in near agreement that the winner of Monday's game would be given the inside track to start the 2007 season as the nation's number on team.

The Not So Obvious – So how many Trojan fans are already searching out hotel rooms for a trip to The Big Easy next season? Ah, you weren't quite sure that New Orleans' Sugar Bowl hosts the 2008 BCS title game? Don't know about you, but Monday's second half Trojan power surge could be felt as far south as famed Bourbon Street. However, it's a long way off between then and now, so relax Trojan fans and enjoy Monday's victory celebration in the Arroyo Seco. It was a reminder that the best, indeed, may yet be on its way and the nation again knows it.

The Obvious – Like it or night, the question before kickoff and after the last whistle on Monday was whether this was Pete Carroll's last game as Trojan coach.

The Not So Obvious – With Denny Greene now out as Arizona Cardinal coach, fired on New Year's Day no less, there were inside and outside reports on the future of the Trojans' Pete Carroll. Everybody knows somebody and somebody know everybody Naturally, much of what is known can't be said because nobody goes on the record, but rest assured, there has been fire behind this smoke. While Trojan fans will all feel better when the Cardinal position is filled with somebody whose name is other than Peter Carroll, Monday's Rose Bowl experience was the ultimate reminder for Carroll why he has enjoyed his experience back in the college game. It is now our gut feeling, a feeling we did not have prior to Monday's kickoff, that he will continue his football ministry for the fabled USC Trojans. Call it a New Year's Day cathartic experience for Carroll, who must now surely understand what makes him happy and free as in the letters U-S-C. Tuesday morning, Coach Charisma waxed emotions on a radio show with loveable T.J. Simers and said all the right reasons he was staying and it seemed to be genuine.

The Obvious – Tuesday's southern California headlines: Trojans come to pass (LA Times), USC Overcomes Michigan (OC Register), and Redeeming Quality (Daily News).

The Not So Obvious – Tuesday's national headlines: Southern California 32, Michigan 19, Hail, No! (Detroit Free Press), U-M Blue – With plenty to prove, team shows little (Detroit News), Michigan ends season with 32-18 loss to Southern California in the Rose Bowl (Ann Arbor News), and Southern Cal redeems itself in Rose (USA Today).

The Obvious – Everybody in the media had their interpretation of what Monday's Trojan victory meant.

The Not So Obvious – AP columnist Tim Dahlberg wrote, "Florida probably isn't the second best team in the country. The Trojans can now make a decent argument that they are, despite having two losses, and the bookies in Vegas would back them up."

The Obvious – Trojans' two-time All-America wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, the Rose Bowl's offensive MVP, caught 11 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

The Not So Obvious – Let us all wish Dwayne the very best when he announces that he is NFL bound, because if he doesn't, that degree to his mother means more than we think it does. Let's face it, Jarrett has put in three wonderful years with the Trojans and should he elect to go to The League, let's all Trojans say thank you and remember to say "Southern California" on those player intros on Monday Night Football.

The Obvious – Before the game, a number of Trojan offensive performers told the O/NSO late last week that they definitely saw weakness in the Michigan secondary, if Pat Ruel's offensive line could protect Booty.

The Not So Obvious – Dwayne Jarrett certainly put that to the test on Monday. Jarrett said, "Their secondary kind of had a little bit of a weakness. They're pretty much a solid defense, but at the same time when we opened up, we exploited them when we started throwing the ball vertical. In the first half we weren't really doing that. We were kind of conservative, running a little bit and attacking her and there, but like I said, the second half coaches just said let it rip and when we did that, you started to see more points on the board."

The Obvious – Monday's Rose Bowl program cover was the same as the game ticket, a picture of a taped lineman's hand ready to snap a football ball.

The Not So Obvious – The game program, which was 200 pages and sold for $10, referenced Dwayne Jarrett and how he benefited from the National Football Foundation's Play It Smart program as a high school student.

The Obvious – Trojan sophomore linebacker Brian Cushing, who had 2 1/2 sacks to go along with seven tackles, was named Rose Bowl Defensive Player of the Game.

The Not So Obvious – Perhaps for the first time in is career, Cushing put it all together and was the dominant force on defense. Cushing, who admitted he wasn't quite sure until kickoff if he could play, may become the Trojans top defender in 2007. Playing with reckless abandon, the New Jersey mauler was making up for his previous two disappointments in the Rose Bowl. Better clear a space downstairs in Heritage Hall for a "new" picture because Brian figures to be a lead candidate next season for All-America honors if he can stay healthy.

The Obvious – The U.S. Army All-America Game will be play this Saturday and a number of Trojan verbals and potential verbals will be on display.

The Not So Obvious – If you think that there is too much emphasis on recruiting and its importance is overplayed, just remember that the two Trojan Rose Bowl MVPs, Mr. Jarrett and Mr. Cushing, both hail from New Jersey and were both part of an intense and thrilling recruiting battle won by the Trojans not too long ago.

The Obvious – The Trojans passing attack had 391 total yards on Monday.

The Not So Obvious – Prior to Monday, the Trojan passing attack was averaging 253.2 yards per game, third in the Pac-10 Conference while the Wolverines' pass defense was allowing 211.1 yards per game, seventh in the Big Ten.

The Obvious – The Trojans junior All-Pac-10 quarterback John David Booty finished with 391 yards passing and four touchdowns.

The Not So Obvious – Well, was there a Trojan fan watching the game that didn't get just a tad nervous after John David marched the Trojans down but get sacked and fumble it back to the Maize and Blue? John David, whose season has been marked with two infamously dramatic endings on the road, even overcame a tipped pass by the Wolverines to rise above it all and deliver a performance for the ages in of all places, the legendary Rose Bowl. After Monday's performance, let's cool the Mark Sanchez "next spring competition" for the sake of reality, the team, and two of the team's most respected representatives.

The Obvious – This season for John David Booty, who could have been named Rose Bowl Offensive MVP, could best be described as a roller coaster of emotions.

The Not So Obvious – On Monday, John David did it all and the game was fun again. Afterwards, John David said, "That was as much fun as I've ever had in my entire life. But I was having a great time in the first half. Just to be in the setting like the Rose Bowl, the crowd, the weather being southern California. Everything about it was perfect."

The Obvious – Trojans senior All-America wide receiver Steve Smith finished with seven catches for 108 yards.

The Not So Obvious – Steve's seven-yard scoring touchdown had senior year and hard work written all over it. The pass pattern itself was executed like a training film. Smith headed down field, briefly broke to the outside, and then zipped back across the middle, leaving two Michigan defenders in a state of limbo coverage. It was a pattern of beauty.

The Obvious – Michigan quarterback Chad Henne finished 26-for-41 for 309 yards and two touchdowns

The Not So Obvious – There is no truth to the rumor after the game that Henne got a call from former Michigan quarterback John Navarre, who was punished relentlessly as well by the Trojans' defensive attack dogs back in the 2004 Rose Bowl. The O/NSO thought Henne was a good quarterback and still do. Like John David Booty, neither are going to be effective when they are watching the game on their backs. The big difference in the game is that Booty's offensive line was able to protect him without a running game and Henne's highly publicized offensive line couldn't without a running game.

The ObviousCoach Ken Norton's linebackers were more than ready to go against Chad Henne and their aggressiveness showed in all phases of the defense.

The Not So Obvious – Senior Dallas Sartz had his view of the proceedings after the game. Dallas said, "I knew we had a good scheme waiting for him (Henne). I was just surprised how fast our defense looked out there. We really showed how fast and quick our defense is, coming off those blitzes and rushing around the ends and the tight end. It was a good game for us."

The Obvious – The Trojans opened as 1 1/2-point underdogs to the Wolverines.

The Not So Obvious – There was a prevailing feeling during practice sessions that the Trojans weren't up for the Rose Bowl, a fact that many practice observers echoed during the week. In the end, it looked like it was Michigan that wasn't up for it. All-America defensive end LaMarr Woodley, who was never really a factor, said, "I thought we were ready to play, we just gave up too many mistakes. Other people will say this is a team that can't finish and can't win bowls, but people will say what they want."

The Obvious – There could not have been a happier man at the Rose Bowl's conclusion than Trojan offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who was given near free reign in the second half by Carroll.

The Not So Obvious – So you think that young Kiffin has taken some shots in the media and on Internet message boards? How about the Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg who wrote, "Michigan's play-calling in the Rose Bowl was embarrassing. Lloyd Carr and his offensive coordinator, Mike DeBord, showed no creativity, failed to adjust to Southern California's blitzes and basically tried to defeat an opposing army with a pea shooter. Michigan, so well-coached all year, was horribly outcoached in this one." Feel better, coach Kiffin?

The Obvious – Trojan defensive end Lawrence Jackson intercepted a screen pass by Michigan quarterback Chad Henne, thrown under extreme pressure.

The Not So Obvious – If it looks like Lawrence has the hands of a middle linebacker, considering that he was in that vicinity for his interception, we note that he did play some middle linebacker while attending Inglewood High. FYI, he did have two interceptions his senior year. As for his interception, LoJack informed, "The play called for me to have contain so I was looping outside and I was looping, the offensive lineman started to back off and go get the linebackers, and I saw the quarterback patting the ball and the running back was right in front of me and I was just standing right there and he threw the ball right to me."

The Obvious – The coin used to decide the first half kickoff was a Trojan logo on one side and a Wolverine logo on the other.

The Not So Obvious – With such a logo, referee Jack Childress, he of the heavy Southwest accent, did not need for the team captains to call for heads or tails. An added touch, of course, was the appearance of Darth Vader, who walked onto the field with his heavy breathing being piped into the public address system. Priceless.

The Obvious – Needless to say, there was a lot of celebration going on after the game as the players were greeted by a large number of family, friends, fans as they walked up the visitor's tunnel and strolled outside Gate A.

The Not So Obvious – Speaking of celebrations, did you catch the Scout.com subscription offer in honor of the Trojans' Rose Bowl victory? If you are a current subscriber to WeAreSC.com, a 3-month subscriber, or simply not a subscriber, you can get a DVD copy of this year's Rose Bowl victory over Michigan for free by joining or extending your current subscription to WeAreSC, which, of course, gets you into our little premium party and provides the ten issues of WeAreSC magazine and the Scout recruiting fall and spring yearbooks. To take advantage of this Happy Hour celebration, go to https://secure.scout.com/a.z?s=15&p=12, or call the sales center at 1.888.501.5752 between 6am-5pm PST and let them know you want the USC DVD offer. You can also call the sales center at 1.888.501.5752 between 6am-5pm PST and let them know you want the USC DVD offer.

The Obvious – Trojan senior wide receiver Chris McFoy garnered his touchdown of the season with a two-yard touchdown reception deep in the back of the end zone to give the Trojans a 9-3 third quarter lead.

The Not So Obvious – It was a magic moment for McFoy who is so respected by is teammates. Junior walk-on wide receiver Brad Walker told us after practice on Saturday that McFoy is an "awesome" receiver and you know that when you have the total respect of the receiving unit, you have been doing good things.

The Obvious – The Trojans offensive line redeemed itself against the Wolverines after suffering for weeks after the UCLA debacle.

The Not So Obvious – Could there have been a more emotional moment after the Trojans' victory for beleaguered offensive tackle Kyle Williams, the senior who spent days and nights being flogged and ridiculed for his sub-par performance against the Bruins – as if he was the only one? Williams played the type of game that only the guardian angels of the gridiron could have provided. Didn't hear the name too much of Michigan's LaMarr Woodley too many times did you? Michigan tried to exploit Kyle but on the first day of January, he played All-Pac-10. Whatever the future may bring for No. 78, he finishes his career having lived the Trojan creed of "Fight On!" Let's also give high-fives to the rest of the unit including All-American Sam Baker, Drew Radovich, Chilo Rachal, and, of course, All-Everything center Ryan Kalil.

The Obvious – The one offensive lineman the Trojans will dearly miss nest season will be center Ryan Kalil, who was a team leader and already sees how the Trojans will improve in 2007.

The Not So Obvious – In a state of euphoria after the game, Kalil opinionated, "Obviously experience. Experience is everything. It's what you need. Sometimes our run game was struggling, not that the talent wasn't there--I know we lost Reggie (Bush) and Lendale (White) and those guys are very talented running backs, but their experience is what we lose the most. Their ability to read defenses, ability to understand the plays and how to press the line of scrimmage and things like that. As an offensive lineman I know it's a lot differently coming up to the second level. Guys are moving a lot differently than I'm used to because they're reading the running back. So those are things that we're only going to get better at and I'm really excited for our team because they've been set up for having a great season next year."

The Obvious – Monday's victory certainly puts the Trojans in their "customary" position for the lead dog in 2007 and Pete Carroll knew after having played Michigan, his Trojans came so close in 2006.

The Not So Obvious – Addressing the media on what this team has learned and its youthful future, Carroll said, "This is very important. Young teams feeling what it's like to be a great team and what that sense is. We've had that sense over the years at times, and when you feel that strongly about your teammates and what we're doing and the program, you're really hard to beat. We almost captured it. Almost had it in the zone. We didn't quite get it done. We missed our opportunity to take it all the way to the top. But it's over with. It really doesn't matter. We won a Rose Bowl and had a great night and did capture the feeling as we go into the off-season."

The Obvious – One Trojan who was as happy as any player was punt returner Desmond Reed, whose recovery from that near career ending leg injury last season is now a distant memory.

The Not So Obvious – Hey, wasn't that old Desmond leading the Trojan Marching Band after the game? After the game, a number of Trojans also headed to the band and to the stands. Sedrick Ellis, who had a marvelous game at nose tackle, Fili Moala, Alex Morrow, and Chilo Rachal all intermingled with the fans. The four were wearing white Rose Bowl championship hats and/or carrying championship shirts. It may not have been the BCS championship, but these Trojans were truly happy with the final outcome.

The Obvious – Monday's Rose Bowl Game attendance was announced as 93,852.

The Not So Obvious – It was an interesting crowd as Trojan fans showed up in Cardinal attire while the Michiganders wore Maize shirts that said "Go Blue, Wear Maize." Trojan fans, perhaps sensing that their heroes might be still suffering from a UCLA hangover, seemed to be on top of their vocal game early and in the second half, it sounded like Coliseum east.

The Obvious – The Trojans had 439 yards in total offense on Monday.

The Not So Obvious – Prior to Monday, the Trojans were averaging 387.9 yards in total offense, fourth in the Pac-10 Conference while the Wolverines were allowing an average of 254.1 yards in total defense, second in the Big Ten.

The ObviousPete Carroll said the Trojans couldn't establish a running game in the first half and in the beginning of the second half, he instructed his offensive minds, Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, to send out the Air Force.

The Not So Obvious – Most would agree that the four-play 85-yard drive midway in the final stanza was the Trojan sword in the Wolverines' chest. Yes, it was impressive and decisive drive, but how many fans thought it would have been wiser to run the clock and not risk an interception? While the results were obviously spectacular, it was somewhat like having a 15 point lead in basketball with four minutes to play and your guards are firing up three-point shots after one pass from the point guard. Of course, when the ball is going in the hoop, who's going to argue?

The Obvious – Trojan place kicker Mario Danelo missed two critical extra points in the second half.

The Not So Obvious – Now hold on there, yes Mario got into a little bit of a rut, but let's not forget his opening quarter 26-yard field goal to stake the Trojans to an early lead, and he later added another 26-yard field goal to contribute in the third quarter. Now, let's end on a high note as Mario did hit on his final PAT attempt following Steve Smith's seven-yard scoring reception.

The Obvious – The Wolverines scored 18 points on Monday.

The Not So Obvious – Prior to Monday, the Trojans' defense was allowing 14.9 points per game, first in the Pac-10 Conference while the Wolverines' offense, was averaging 30.2 points per game, third in the Big Ten.

The Obvious – There was nobody in the Rose Bowl that was any happier with the Trojans' defensive effort than defensive coordinator Nick Holt, whose first season as the DC ended in near fantasy fashion.

The Not So Obvious – After the game, Holt walked into the Rose Bowl parking lot to the compliments of Trojans fans and parents and kept repeating their compliments back at them. The Trojan assistant looked like he was as spent as could be and had the look of a man whose defense had risen him above their shoulders and gave him the ultimate ride into the off-season.

The Obvious – The Rose Bowl video board showed highlights of past Rose Bowl games throughout the contest.

The Not So Obvious – It certainly didn't give the Michigan fans much confidence at halftime when the Charles White "phantom" touchdown was show that beat Michigan in the 1979 game. Strangely, there weren't any boos detected from the Wolverine gathering. Late in the third quarter, to add a little extra salt in the Michigan wounds, the video board showed highlights of the Trojans' 2004 Rose Bowl victory over the Wolverines. Ouch!

The Obvious – The Wolverines had 321 yards in total offense on Saturday.

The Not So Obvious – Prior to Monday, the Wolverines were averaging 374.9 yards in total offense, fifth in the Big Ten Conference, while he Trojans' defense was allowing 293.8 yards per game in total defense, first in the Pac-10 Conference.

The Obvious – If there was a major reason for the Wolverines limited totals, the credit has to go to the Trojans' linebackers, a group led, of course, by the relentless Brian Cushing.

The Not So Obvious – The element of speed of these linebackers was breathtaking against the Big Ten's fifth best offense. While Cushing certainly deserved his MVP award, let's give a shout to senior linebackers Oscar Lua and Dallas Sartz. Boy, did Lua shore things up when he was in there and delivered some crushing hits. Sartz did his usual job of being where he was always supposed to be, although that late hit on quarterback Henne was certainly one that Dallas would like to have back.

The Obvious – The Trojans got big play out of fellow linebacker Keith Rivers, the All-Pac-10 junior from Lake Mary, Florida.

The Not So Obvious – Talk about speed, speed, speed. Rivers, who connected on a team-high eight tackles, probably was the one element that really sent a message to the outside running game of the Wolverines. It was almost as exciting as some of Booty's touchdown throws to watch Rivers zoom in on Michigan running backs trying to get outside. Before Keith gets too big a head over the performance, Rose Bowl public address announcer Chuck Taylor said one time, "Tackle by Keith Richards, er Rivers." Those Rolling Stones, ever the opportunists. Of course later Taylor said that Trojan freshman defensive tackle Alex Parsons made a tackle, except it was on a Trojan ball carrier.

The Obvious – The instant replay was used a couple of times during the game.

The Not So Obvious – Let's give some credit to the replay process. The review process, so laborious during the season, seemed in NFL form and the "wait" was very minimal. During one replay of a Dwayne Jarrett reception, Jarrett and tight end Fred Davis, who turned in a good performance, were discussing the review with the Michigan bench and an official had to move both back to the huddle.

The Obvious – Junior David Buehler handled the Trojans' kickoff chores in the absence of the academically dismissed Troy Van Blarcom.

The Not So Obvious – Carrying on in Van Blarcom tradition, Buehler, who looked a little tense in the early going with some short kickoffs, seemed to loosen up as the Trojans mounted their second half point-a-thon. David finished with seven kickoff, three of which were touchbacks

The Obvious – There were the usual souvenir stands throughout the Rose Bowl area, many of which did added business thanks to the Trojans victory.

The Not So Obvious – Upon entering the Rose Bowl golf course parking, a number of souvenir selling were hawking plastic ticket holders for $10. Not to be outdone later, many Trojan fans upon returning home found e-mails from the Trojan marketing department selling Rose Bowl championship shirts. Now that's what the O/NSO calls marketing expediency.

The Obvious – There were food booths located on one side of the Rose Bowl, which also was the home of the local Trojans' ESPN pre-game broadcasts.

The Not So Obvious – The lines for the food booths inside and outside the Rose Bowl were long, very long. You'd have thought the food was being given away. One popular area on the opposite site of the Rose Bowl was a Jack Daniels "beer garden" truck. Beer for an eight ounce cup was going for $8.

The Obvious – On Monday, the Trojans were penalized three times for 27 yards while the Wolverines were flagged two times for 20 yards.

The Not So Obvious – Prior to Monday, the Trojans were averaging 52.1 penalty yards per game, sixth in the Pac-10 Conference while the Wolverines were averaging 45.8 penalty yards per game, tenth in the Big Ten.

The Obvious – The Trojans rushed for 48 yards on Monday afternoon against the Wolverines.

The Not So Obvious – Prior to Monday, the Trojan rushing game was averaging 134.6 yards per game, fourth in the Pac-10 Conference while the Wolverines' rush defense was allowing 43.0 yards per game, first in the Big Ten.

The Obvious – Trojan tailback C.J. Gable rushed 13 times for 30 yards.

The Not So Obvious – Okay, so it wasn't vintage Charles White, but the frosh didn't fumble either and ran hard. For the Allen Bradford Fan Club, he showed glimpses of his immense potential with four carries for 19 yards. Junior Chauncey Washington carried just twice, despite being pronounced healthy, and there are media reports that he is now considering going pro. Think again, Chauncey, there isn't enough on the resume yet to give this serious consideration and there will be a need to show you can last an entire season physically.

The Obvious – The Trojans usually arrive by bus around two hours before kickoff and go through the "Trojan Walk."

The Not So Obvious – Monday's team arrival had the Trojans walking off the busses around 12:25 p.m. Unlike last year's trip to the Rose Bowl where the Trojans seemed relaxed and happy, the 2006 Trojans didn't even "rock their busses" upon the arrival. One fan who regularly attends the Trojan Walk said, " They look very subdued and every tense." The players were welcomed with chants of "We Are..SC." A number of players did, however, hug and shake hands with the fans and the family of linebacker Rey Maualuga held up signs of support from his NorCal roots. Michigan arrived about 30 minutes ahead of the Trojans and their busses mistakenly arrived where the Trojan fans were waiting for their team. Naturally, the UM busses decided to move up to where there were more Michigan fans.

The Obvious – The Wolverines had 48 yards rushing on Monday.

The Not So Obvious – Prior to Monday, the Trojan defense was allowing 97.7 yards rushing per game, second in the Pac-10 Conference while the Wolverines' rushing attack was averaging 189.2 yards per game, first in the Big Ten.

The Obvious – Michigan junior tailback Mike Hart was held to 47 yards rushing, the first time he's been held under 90 all year.

The Not So Obvious – Hart had indicated before the game that he thought the Trojans' defense was by far better than Ohio State's defense. After the game, Hart said, "USC, hands down, had the best defense I've played against since I came to Michigan."

The Obvious – You got the impression after the game that more than a number of Michigan players felt that the Trojans and the Buckeyes would make a great game.

The Not So Obvious – Yes, the Trojans had their chance to make it happen, but it is still bittersweet comforting to know that the UM players gave the Trojans such high marks. In fact, based on how they said it, the feeling here is that if Michigan didn't have to play their hated rivals every year, some of the Wolverines were about ready to say that the Trojans would beat the Buckeyes because of Pete Carroll's defense.

The Obvious – There were a number of tickets to be had around the Rose Bowl.

The Not So Obvious – One fan asked the O/NSO if he needed a pair. Claiming he had family connections with the Michigan athletic department, he was willing to part with two tickets on the thirty for $150 each, just what a Wolverine fan would pay, which included the service charge.

The Obvious – The Wolverines passed for 309 yards against the Trojans' defense on Monday.

The Not So Obvious – Prior to Monday, the Trojan pass defense was allowing 196.1 yards per game, fourth in the Pac-10 Conference while the Wolverines' pass offense was averaging 185.8 yards per game, ninth in the Big Ten.

The Obvious – Michigan senior Steve Breaston had seven catches for 115 yards and a late, meaningless 41-yard score from Henne.

The Not So Obvious – For the most part, Michigan had a fine trio of receivers, but the Trojans secondary led by Terrell Thomas kept things on an even slide. Henne was too good and too accurate to be stopped completely, especially when he went to big tight end Tyler Ecker, the El Dorado Hills, Californian, who had six catches for an impressive 78 yards. Perhaps the surprise of the Trojan secondary was the fact that Terrell's temperamental shoulder didn't eliminate him from participating at some point in the game.

The Obvious – Former USC graduate George Lucas was Grand Marshall of the Rose Parade and took part in the game coin flip.

The Not So Obvious – In a unique experience, fans entered the Rose Bowl to an introduction from Star Wars characters such as the sounds of the fuzzy giant, Chewbacca and R2-D2. Along with the music from the motion picture, it was actually felt appropriate to know that the 93rd Rose Bowl was expected to be a gridiron Star Wars.

The Obvious – The Trojans got plenty of linebacker work from Clay Mathews, Jr., who recorded two tackles on the afternoon.

The Not So Obvious – A touching sight after the game was seeing Clay Mathews Sr., the former Trojan All-America linebacker walking proudly and wearing a USC home uniform with the number #47, the number of his son. Both father and son now can say they both have played on the hallowed turf; what a moment.

The Obvious – As is standard practice for "away" Trojan games, especially when Cardinal and Gold fans are seated in the end zone, the Trojan players will make a point of running over as a team to show their appreciation before the game begins.

The Not So Obvious – When the Trojans came out of the tunnel begore kickoff and started to approach their fans, one of the game officials ushered away Dwayne Jarrett and redshirt freshman receiver David Ausberry from having any fan interaction. Bah, humbug.

The Obvious – And finally, the Trojans finished this season on a high note, although most, including the head coach and team, found this 11-2 season to be successful but not complete.

The Not So Obvious – Naturally, all eyes will be on the BCS championship on Monday when the comparisons begin and the "if we had played'em" melancholy commences. The Trojans had their chances this season for a national championship appearance and that's all you can ask. Looking for a motto for next season? An O/NSO suggestion is a cardinal shirt that simply reads "FINISH," a Pete Carroll mantra, something his charges did on Monday against Michigan.

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