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Morning Briefing

Schroeder's Pass to McNeil Haunts Trojans Even Now

November 20, 1985

It seemed only fitting that on the week of the UCLA-USC game Jay Schroeder would come out of the bullpen to pitch the Washington Redskins to a 23-21 victory over the New York Giants.

It was five years ago that Schroeder, a seldom-used UCLA quarterback, came to the rescue of beleaguered starter Tom Ramsey and delivered a 20-17 win over USC.

Schroeder completed 9 of 11 passes for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ironically, the worst pass he threw resulted in the winning touchdown. It was a sideline pass to Freeman McNeil that USC's Jeff Fisher should have intercepted but let go through his hands. McNeil grabbed it on the sideline and went all the way to score on a 58-yard play.

It's a play Terry Donahue will never forget. Until that game, he had faced USC four times and lost four times. Asked afterward if the monkey was off his back, he said: "More like a gorilla. It wasn't a spider monkey, it was a gorilla."

He added: "The criticism I've met in some quarters has been very intense. Lots of universities would not show the same patience with a coach who's lost four in a row to his arch-rival."

Since that 1980 game, Donahue has lost to USC only once. He is 4-5 in the series. The oddsmakers say he will get even Saturday.

Trivia Time: What quarterbacks have been starters on teams that won both the national college championship and the Super Bowl title? (Answer below.)

From Todd Phipers of the Denver Post: "Coach Bill McCartney wouldn't take a stand, but the opinion of every Colorado player who wanted to make his opinion known after the Buffs lost to Oklahoma was that the Sooners will beat Nebraska Saturday."

Note: After USC opened with a 21-0 win over Colorado at the Coliseum in 1964, the Buffs were unanimous in the dressing room that Oklahoma would beat the Trojans the following week at Norman. "Not only beat 'em, but stomp 'em," they said.

USC won, 40-14.

The Last Word: Said Chicago linebacker Otis Wilson after Dallas was dispatched, 44-0: "They say we haven't played anybody. I guess you could say we still haven't."

The Optimist: Says Frank Luksa of the Dallas Times Herald: "Let's look on the bright side. Based on historical trend, the Cowboys won't get shut out again until the year 2000."

The last shut out was a 38-0 thrashing administered by the St. Louis Cardinals on a Monday night in 1970 as Don Meredith watched in horror from the ABC booth.

Chicago Coach Mike Ditka remembers. He was a tight end for the Cowboys. He also remembers that Dallas went on to play in the Super Bowl, losing to Baltimore, 16-13.

The next year, Dallas returned to the Super Bowl and beat the Miami Dolphins, 24-3. Ditka scored the last touchdown on a seven-yard pass from Roger Staubach.

Now-it-can-be-told dept.: Said William (The Refrigerator) Perry when asked about his missing front tooth: "It was shot out of my mouth with a pellet gun by my cousin Robert when I was 5."

Trivia Answer: Joe Namath (Alabama, 1964; New York Jets, 1968) and Joe Montana (Notre Dame, 1977; San Francisco, 1981 and 1984).

Quotebook

California Coach Joe Kapp, on Saturday's Big Game with Stanford: "It's a special game for all of us who live here in the center of the universe."

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