My previous post notwithstanding, I’m proud of how the USC players approached the Rose Bowl game and the way they played, especially in the final moments; they truly fought like Trojans! I’m also proud of the Trojans’ reaction to losing the game and their future outlook.
"This is what it's all about, 41-38 in the final game," said Leinart . . . . "You couldn't ask for anything better. This was a great football game. We gave our hearts, they gave their hearts and they came out on top."
"It's been a great run. We've done some special things," Bush said. "I don't think we should be ashamed about anything."
"We played hard," said Trojan senior defensive end Frostee Rucker. "You got to credit Vince Young."
Rucker tried to explain the mistakes, the missed tackles, the failed fourth-and-2 play, the lost opportunities. Rather than continue, he simply said, "The rest is history."
The sometimes combustible White was calm as he recounted the play and the way USC's 34-game winning streak was halted. He seemed at peace with the how the game went down. He knew there was no shame in losing when the other team just rises up and makes a play. "I tried to leave it all out there, man," he said with a smile. "I really did."
"This is really what we wanted," said guard Fred Matua. "We want to be out there and play it to the fullest. We don't play to just stay on top. We play to win, man. We're not about putting the game in our defense's hands. We want to take it from them on our terms. If we go down, we're going down fighting, not just hopin' and wishin'. This is how we play at SC, and any high schooler that wants to play like this, man, come on through. We don't play scared."
Said Pat Ruel, USC's O-line coach, "I'm disgusted because this team has given so much and it came down to this play, but hey, I guess it's time for us to start a new streak. That's all."
With a collective attitude like that, I have no doubt the excellence and dominance of USC football will continue uninterrupted.