USC’s late touchdown vs. UCLA: fair or foul?

From ESPN:

When Matt Barkley kneeled down to end Southern California’s (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) victory in the final minute, UCLA defiantly stopped the clock with a timeout.

So the Trojans let ‘er rip, throwing a long touchdown pass and then celebrating it with a taunting ferocity that brought the Bruins onto the field on the verge of a brawl.

The last 90 seconds of Los Angeles’ 79th crosstown showdown had more action than the first 58 1/2 minutes, even if it was just a few extra fireworks at the close of USC’s workmanlike 28-7 victory Saturday night.

See for yourself the setting:

So the question is: Was that cool for Pete Carroll to do? Was it cool for Neuheisel to call the timeouts? What is the proper response?

  • pac10fan

    i think there is a place in college football for humility and winning gracefully. i’ve seen a lot of games where when one team has all 3 time outs, you don’t take a knee, you simply run the ball and try to get the first down. a football game is 60 minutes long – not 59. time outs aside, deep pass aside, i think winning graciously is important. look at toby gerhart. that guys is a machine and after every touchdown he acts like he’s down it before. you’d think after years of great seasons USC would be able to be gracious winners.

  • Dave

    As a UCLA alum, proud fan (well…) and hater of USC, and a guy who earned a hangover watching that shit, I can support Carroll’s decision. It’s your job to stop the opponent from scoring, as much as it is your job to score points. ‘SC wanted to run the clock out, and UCLA decided to call (pointless) time-outs. So Carroll got a call from the box and dialed it up. Good for him. If the situation had been reversed, I hope to hell that Chow would have gotten them to throw it deep — b/c really, the hell with SC.

    But you play for 60 minutes. SC wasn’t trying to run up the score until Neuheisel challenged them to do something besides kneel the ball. UCLA wanted a face-saving gesture from their evil rival, and ‘SC was smart enough not to give it to them.

    It’s really embarrassing for me as a UCLA boy, but I think Carroll did the right thing, and that the Bruin players should be taking their frustrations out (not physically) on Neuheisel.

    (SIGH) Go Bruins.

  • What?

    @ Pac10fan


    USC was trying to be gracious winners by taking a knee and getting out of there. As soon as UCLA decided to use up its timeouts in order to prevent this, USC was forced to try and get a first down. As Dave said, the long pass was actually a smart move strategically in order to get that first down.

  • Techie

    So, Carrol can dish it out, but can’t take it.

    Film at 11.

  • Andy

    No, it’s UCLA who can dish it out but can’t take it. There was absolutely no chance the Bruins were going to score twice as many points in the last minute as they had in the first 59. They were going to lose, period. The only thing that could have possibly changed was the margin of defeat. USC tried to just let the game end, UCLA wanted to keep playing. But they didn’t want the Trojans to keep playing too–Carroll was supposed to keep calling the take-a-knee play, or run up the middle, or otherwise half-ass it while the Bruins were allowed to go no-huddle and throw deep once they got the ball. Basically, Neuheisel asked, pretty please, to be handed a face-saving, spread-covering touchdown on a silver platter. Carroll said no. The UCLA players wanted USC to follow more restrictive rules than they themselves would–they wanted to be given an unfair advantage, and got violently angry when they weren’t.

    For the record, I’m not a fan of either team, in fact I vaguely dislike both. AND I had money on UCLA to beat the spread, so if I have any bias at all in this, it’s in the Bruins’ favor. And I still think every aspect of this situation was squarely UCLA’s fault.

  • bodog

    “There is no way in God’s green earth I would ever let my child play for him.”
    Trust me on this one GoDawgs if your son is who I think he is, You need not worry about that.

  • Jonesie

    1) Stupid call by Neuheisel. C’mon you got beat. Be gracious and accept it. In fact perhaps you should say: “Thanks for taking a knee” when you meet Carroll at midfield. Lose the ego and lead your young men. Don’t be a baby!

    2) C’mon Pete Carroll! Are you really that juvenile? Get over your yourself. Lose the ego and lead your young men. Don’t be a bully!

    3) All of you that said they needed to get a first down. Perhaps you run the ball or throw a short pass, but launching it deep? That sends the wrong message.

    4) Even if they didn’t get the first down, Then you punt the damn ball. Was UCLA really going to score a 14 pt. TD? I am pretty sure that they don’t exist. Please save me the cataclysmic, blocked punt…recovered onside kick…Hail Mary TD to win, scenario. It is not like UCLA was making plays in the first 59 minutes, let alone 3 of the lowest % plays in all of football in a row. (Chris, perhaps you could have your friends @ Advanced NFL Stats cook up the odds on that?

    5) I have been a coach in a sideline clearing brawl. It was between 2 Division IAA schools and we didn’t have the studs that were on that field. It is very chaotic and dangerous. I wonder what action the Administration of the schools would have taken if there was a brawl. Both Coaches were clearly contributing factors.

    6) What an embarrassment to the greatest game in the world! Football has given Carroll and Neuhielsel the world, have a little respect for the game. It is not about you.

  • Mike

    Why is everyone just assuming that it was a play call that was a bomb? Maybe it was a play call that had route combinations, and UCLA covered the shorter routes so the QB *gasp* threw to the open WR. Was the QB supposed to throw it out of bounds because the only player open ( and I mean WIDE OPEN ) is the deep route?

  • Nainoa

    Look. They are rivals. It is war. You don’t hold back on rivals. You follow the rules that’s how you hold back. Secondly, I can’t stand this pee wee mentality that it is unsportsmanlike to run up the score. Flaunting, or pushing, things of this nature are unsportsman-like. But, kicking their butts as promised is not. You went in with a game plan. You see weaknesses and tendencies and you exploit them to the end. It is not fair to your second team-who have worked all week hoping for some action- to have them go in their to run dive all 4th quarter or take a knee. They want war. They need evaluation and experience. Be as respectful as possible to the other team, but you go in to games to execute a plan, improve as a team, and destroy your opponent, and you carry that imperative until the last whistle.

  • Defense_is_ job_1

    Neuheisel fired the first salvo in this debacle with his asinine LATimes full-page advertisement, announcing the end of SC’s dominance over the Bruins, just after he was hired. He then pulled a “classless” stunt by calling timeout when SC was willing to simply run out the clock; so, Carroll’s response was fully justified IMO, the only mistake Carroll made was not going for the 2-point conversion after the score.

  • Louis

    Children, Please!

  • DT

    The timeout was a classless move, but Carroll has been guilty of doing the same thing in the past. Carroll had the opportunity to be the bigger man, but instead showed how much of an ass he can be.

  • Blondeviking64

    Here is the deal with this one. In a situation where UCLA has no chance to win the game but possibly has a chance for another possession I see this as only having one outcome. For me the timeout serves no purpose. USC is trying to be merciful and win gracefully by kneeling. Of course UCLA wants to get that last possession even with no chance to win it. But when your beat and its really over, just let it be over. In a very similar situation I did exactly what Carrol and USC did. Except I simply got a first down then ran it out instead. The opposing coach was furious but I simply said I did what I needed to end the game and if you werent so pompous about calling a timeout this never would have happened. He didnt like me answet but if you come across the field cussing and screaming then too bad. I am totally convinced it was the right thing to do for me and for USC.