USC Saving the best for Last
A strong finish is a big deal at Southern California. Whether it be finishing games or the season, the philosophy is to perform at the highest level when it means the most. The Trojans have consistently done that under the leadership of Pete Carroll.
"It means a tremendous amount to a team in any sport," the USC Trojans coach said Tuesday. "It's been an outstanding characteristic of this program, I'm real proud of it."
A perfect example of finishing a game happened when No. 3 USC outscored No. 22 California 17-0 in the second half for a 23-9 victory. That gave the Trojans an unprecedented fifth straight Pac-10 championship and kept their national championship hopes alive.
It was USC Trojans's step toward a strong finish to this season - something the Trojans have managed in each of Carroll's six years as evidenced by their 19-0 record in November.
"The fourth quarter is crunch time. The season is won or lost in November," junior defensive end Lawrence Jackson said. "Something is sparked in the competitive nature of this team. When I was a freshman, that's all I knew. That's all I know now."
"I think a lot of it has to do with being a well-conditioned team," Ryan Khalil said. "We do well in finishing games - we last longer than teams. That's our whole philosophy, we want to finish games around here."
On the otherhand, Carroll isn't fond of looking into the future like that, saying: "It's not up to us, it's up to a system to choose us. We're very pleased with where we are right now. Whenever you talk BCS, I get confused. I don't know how to figure these things out."
"It's just all very, very rich and very special," he said of the rivalry, which Notre Dame leads 42-30-5 although USC Trojans has won the last four games between the teams.
Also, Weis added, two-thirds of the plays the Irish practiced last week were to prepare for the Trojans, although he didn't tell that to his players.
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