The play is called 22 sprint draw. It develops with USC quarterback Rodney Peete sprinting out as if he were going to pass.
Instead, he hands off to a delaying tailback Aaron Emanuel.
That was the call with 42 seconds left in the first half of USC's game with Oregon Saturday night at the Coliseum. It was second down and the Trojans were on the Ducks' 25-yard line.
Emanuel slammed into the line and was immediatedly surrounded by Oregon defenders. He kept plowing, spinning and surging to the end zone.
With that scoring run and a career-high 144 yards for the game, Emanuel might have established himself as USC's No. 1 tailback, perhaps no longer to share time with Ryan Knight.
Coach Ted Tollner said that both of his tailbacks will play against Washington State Saturday in Pullman, Wash., but Emanuel will start if he's fit--and he apparently is.
It will be the first starting assignment for the sophomore tailback and, perhaps, the Trojans will have a take-charge player at the position for the first time since Marcus Allen was running to a Heisman Trophy in 1981.
Since then, USC has had a tailback committee, with Fred Crutcher, Todd Spencer, Anthony Gibson, Michael Harper, Zeph Lee, Knight and Emanuel all playing from time to time.
Emanuel's 25-yard charge up the middle was reminiscent of O.J Simpson's 13-yard run to a touchdown against UCLA in 1967. Tommy Prothro, UCLA's coach at the time, said it was the greatest run he had ever seen.
Emanuel said: "I went through a hole behind (guard) Jeff Bregel and cut back in. I felt two guys on me at first and they kind of turned me around. I didn't really know where I was. I just kept pumping my feet and then I saw the goal line."
Said Frank Falks, who coaches USC's running backs: "The films showed that seven people had a chance to make a play on Aaron, and he carried two of them into the end zone."
One run doesn't necessarily establish Emanuel as the clear-cut USC tailback, nor does his 8.5-yard average for the game. He also had runs of 28 and 27 yards and gained 21 yards on a short pass from Peete.
But Tollner has been waiting for one of his tailbacks to jump out in front of the other, and Emanuel apparently has made the first move.
As a highly regarded freshman last year from Quartz Hill near Lancaster, Emanuel was injured most of the season. He said he didn't report in peak condition and, as a result, his career was on hold.
Even so, he averaged 4.9 yards a carry as a part-time player.
"He did some exciting things against Oregon, especially considering his youth," Tollner said Tuesday. "He does a better job of seeing daylight and he's more consistent. We're happy with that eight-yard average and very happy that he's a sophomore.
"You have to remember that he came in here a year ago, got hurt and then started playing with very little preparation. He has tremendous talent, but we have to bring him along in a fashion that will keep him productive."
At 6 feet 2 inches and 215 pounds, Emanuel's galloping, upright running style is distinctive. "I call him a wild stallion," Falks said. "He's an effective runner, but not a smooth one."
And Emanuel has had to break some habits that didn't inhibit him when he was running over people at the high school level, such as carrying the ball in both hands.
"We ran the option a lot in high school and I would catch the ball like this," said Emanuel, thrusting out both hands. "It has been a hard habit to break. I would take a few steps in practice and then take the ball in both hands. The coaches have told me to tuck it in all the time."
USC tailbacks from Mike Garrett to Emanuel and Knight have been constantly admonished to take the ball upfield, not laterally.
Emanuel smiled at that notion, saying: "After Saturday's game, Mike came up to me and said, 'Great, man, great, but you don't have to make so many moves. Just go straight upfield, goal line to goal line.' He was almost screaming."
There are other ragged edges, such as losing four fumbles this season. He said that usually occurs when he is held up by a linebacker and doesn't protect the ball with two hands.
Despite the competition at tailback, Emanuel said that he and Knight are good friends. They room together on the road and at a hotel here before home games.
"Ryan is quiet and he gets ready for games in his own way," Emanuel said. "As for me, it depends on my mood. I might scream some and go around patting a lot of the guys. I also do a lot of pacing."
Tollner can hope that those paces turn into giant strides on the field.