By Jim Moore
If you’re a Coug, you probably thought we had a chance to beat USC Saturday night.
But as you watched the game, even though we looked great on defense, you must have wondered how we would lose this one. That would be followed by talk the next day that we’re looking better and if it weren’t for this, this and this, we might have beaten the Trojans. That’s how it was against Auburn the week before.
But I’ll be damned. As the game went on, with the score still tied at 7, it looked more and more like the Cougs were as good as the Trojans if not better.
The Cougars hadn’t beat USC since 2002 before knocking off the 25th-ranked Trojans Saturday. (AP) | Recap | Photos
I watched the game with my three kids – Brooke, who’s 22; and her 9-year-old brothers, Michael and Steven.
Brooke’s old enough to know that the Cougs have actually been good in her lifetime – she went to the 2003 Rose Bowl with me.
But Mikey and Stevie have always known the Cougs as a bad football team. That bothers me. It shouldn’t, but it does. I don’t want them to think that the Cougs are a bunch of losers. I kept waiting for a game when the Cougs would shock the heck out of them by winning and showing them that maybe they’re not so bad after all.
You can say that the Trojans will ultimately prove to be an average team, so average that their coach will be fired. You can also say that their quarterbacks are terrible. But as far as I can recall, we had only beaten them in Los Angeles twice in my lifetime before Saturday night. And they were ranked No. 25 in the country.
When Damante Horton stopped the final USC drive with his second interception of the night, we jumped around and high-fived and smiled as the Cougs ran out the clock. To see the Cougs in a victory formation was highly unusual. Those were the best three knees that Connor Halliday has ever taken, using up the final two minutes.
I truly feel that being a Coug is the best thing ever. Every Coug feels that way. We know what losing is like. So when we win, I think we appreciate it more and are better at celebrating than any other team in the country.
Brooke showed me a video of kids on campus having a great time at Valhalla Bar & Grill after the game. I’m guessing that bars around the state were closed by Cougs clinking their mugs and bottles together, toasting the 10-7 victory.
We celebrated by going on the deck and shouting “Go Cougs!” on the count of three. Then we went to McDonald’s for McFlurries and an ice cream cone for the Go 2 Pup.
The Cougs are 1-1 and will probably be 3-1 after playing Southern Utah and Idaho the next two weeks at Martin Stadium. Then we face Stanford at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 27 with a chance to knock off the fifth-ranked Cardinals.
That may or may not happen. But the win over USC at least gives us a shot at a 6-6 season and a bowl game, and we haven’t played in one of those since Will Derting was chasing Vince Young all over the place in the 2003 Holiday Bowl.
For the last five years, nothing seemed possible for the Cougs. Now all of a sudden, everything does.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.