Maybe this was one game that should have ended in a tie. Neither UCLA nor USC deserved to lose. . . .
I've seen the last 40 renewals of the cross-town rivalry and Saturday's was the best, minute-for-minute. . . .
Overheard on the USC sidelines after Johnnie Morton caught the touchdown pass that put the Trojans ahead with 16 seconds remaining: "We scored too early." . . .
Thumbs up to Jim Sprenger, Dave McCullough, Jay Stricherz, Chuck McFerrin, Nardy Samuels, David Becker and Rich Freitas. They're the officials who let the players do their thing. Not one big play was called back. No holding penalties were called. No penalties of any kind were called in the second or third quarters. . . .
Postgame snapshots: Two wide receivers who caught 15 passes between them, USC's Gary Wellman and UCLA's Scott Miller, shaking hands, exchanging compliments, and wishing each other good luck at midfield. . . . Larry Smith interrupting his news conference to hug and kiss wife Cheryl. . . . USC players wearing ear-to-ear smiles nearly as big as their tiny Rose Bowl dressing room. . . . Terry Donahue patiently answering questions in the interview room and then granting every request for a one-on-one interview. . . . Tommy Maddox doing the same. . . .
All Maddox needs to become a high first-round draft pick is three more years--well, maybe two. . . .
Todd Marinovich conducts the coolest, most proficient game-winning touchdown drives this side of Joe Montana.
The biggest play that won't be remembered was USC fullback Raoul Spears apparently being stopped and then spinning off a tackler for three yards and a first down on fourth and one on the UCLA 24 in the fourth quarter. On the next play, Marinovich threw the first of his two touchdown passes to Morton to put the Trojans ahead, 38-35. . . .
It was also Spears, a second-stringer, who made Smith's gamble look good when he dived for two yards and a first down on fourth and one on the USC 39 early in the third quarter. . . .
Longest time between touchdowns in the fourth quarter was 6 minutes 39 seconds. . . .
Only one field goal was attempted all day and Quin Rodriguez's three-pointer was the difference. . . .
Another thing that made this game unusual--neither coach was criticized. . . .
Theme of Troy Week was "Another Trojan conquest. Ho hum." . . .
The rematch next Nov. 23 in the Coliseum should be something. Of the 44 starters Saturday, only 14 were seniors. . . .
Won't those intellects in the California rooting section and Stanford band ever learn to stay off the field until the end of the game? . . .
Most USC fans were disappointed that Notre Dame lost to Penn State. They wanted the Trojans to have an opportunity to knock off the top-rated team Saturday in the Coliseum. . . .
I doubt that there will be a quarterback controversy at USC this week.
If the Orange Bowl had shown some patience, it could have had hometown Miami vs. Colorado with the national championship most likely at stake. Actually, Notre Dame still should be rated ahead of Miami. Notre Dame is 8-2, Miami 7-2, and the Irish beat the Hurricanes. . . .
The Sugar Bowl looks real smart, too, for inviting Virginia, which lost to Maryland and probably won't have injured quarterback Shawn Moore in the lineup New Year's Day. . . .
Washington has UCLA to blame for not ending the regular season as No. 1. . . .
An asterisk should be put beside the 11 touchdown passes thrown by David Klingler Saturday in the Astrodome. After all, Houston was playing Eastern Washington. . . .
In coaching Cal State Long Beach to a 6-5 season, George Allen proved that he hasn't lost his winning touch. . . .
This time, Boston College would have needed five Hail Mary passes to beat Miami. . . .
Howard Schnellenberger, who is bringing Louisville to the Fiesta Bowl, may stay in Tempe, Ariz., to replace Larry Marmie as coach of Arizona State. . . . Nothing like the Rams' defense to bring out the best in Troy Aikman. . . .
Pity Orange County, home of the Rams and Cal State Fullerton. . . .
The well-balanced Buffalo Bills won't lose by 45 points if they play in the Super Bowl. . . .
How about those streaking Indianapolis Colts. . . .
Circle Sept. 7 on your 1991 calendar. Tommy Maddox and UCLA vs. Ty Detmer and BYU at the Rose Bowl.