Timeout for Debate

What happened in the closing minute and how you feel about it depends largely on which side of the rivalry you belong. UCLA fans will say that the Trojans went out of their way to humiliate the Bruins in an attempt to run up the score. USC fans feel that Neuheisel brought the final touchdown upon himself by trying to tweak the Trojans by using timeouts with the game already decided.

Was it a big deal? And whose fault was it anyway?

Those are the remaining questions after a 48-yard touchdown reception by Damian Williams gave the USC Trojans a 28-7 victory over archrival UCLA and ignited controversy all over the city last night.

You just can't get away from the debate over which coach was most out of line. It's in the newspapers, all over internet message boards and you can be sure it's being discussed in local taverns across Los Angeles.

The Trojans had a 14-point lead, the ball and the game in hand with under a minute to play, so they took a knee, signaling that they were going to run out the clock and head into the locker room with a rather uneventful 21-7 victory.

But UCLA's Rick Neuheisel, a fiercely competitive coach just like Pete Carroll, decided to call the first of his three timeouts, which drew a chorus of boos from the Coliseum crowd.

Carroll and play caller Jeremy Bates responded to Neuheisel's timeout, with a controversial play-action pass that caught the Bruins by surprise and turned up the heat in the crosstown rivalry.

The Trojans celebrated their final touchdown by doing a dance that spilled off the sidelines, which angered the Bruins, and they charged across the field led by Reggie Carter, who left an official in his wake.

In all honesty, both teams knew there wasn't going to be a fight, which is why the whole ordeal was so absurd. And someone really needs to explain to me why you need to try and start a fight in a sport in which you are allowed to beat on your opponent for 60 minutes.

Neuheisel had his three timeouts and every right to use them, but if he wasn't willing to concede the loss, then Carroll in turn has every right to try for another score.

You can't say we are going to compete to the bitter end and expect the opponent to just go through the motions, which is why UCLA's lack of defense on the play was puzzling.

While the players deserve some criticism and certainly looked foolish, it was the coaches, the guys that get paid millions of dollars to be leaders that put them in this position.

What happened in the closing minute and how you feel about it depends largely on which side of the rivalry you belong, and needless to say, there are some bitterly divided homes today.

UCLA fans will say that the Trojans went out of their way to humiliate the Bruins in an attempt to run up the score.

USC fans feel that Neuheisel brought the final touchdown upon himself by trying to tweak the Trojans by using timeouts with the game already decided.

No one will agree on the matter other than to say that it has added a spark to a rivalry that needed a dose of intensity.


The USC Trojans were victorious over UCLA in a heated rivalry game, 28-7.


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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com



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