The 1990 USC-UCLA game will be forever remembered as "The Shootout." It was USC's Todd Marinovich vs. UCLA's Tommy Maddox. Each team scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. UCLA scored with 1:19 left, but USC scored with 16 seconds left and won, 45-42.
Marinovich won the game, but Maddox set a school record by passing for 409 yards, a record that was broken when Cade McNown passed for 513 in the Bruins' 1998 loss to Miami.
Great things were expected from Marinovich and Maddox. But both left school early, and great things never materialized.
When Maddox reflects on that 1990 game against USC, the thought of not having enough time still haunts him.
"The problem was, we scored our last touchdown quicker than we wanted to. I completed four straight passes and then Kevin Smith scored from the one with 1:19 left. That gave them enough time to score again with 16 seconds left.
"But I still thought we could tie or win the game, the way things were going. We were going up and down the field, and so were they.
"There were 11 seconds left on the clock and we were on our own 39-yard line, with one timeout left. Scott Miller went deep. He was either going to try and split the defenders and score, or make the catch and get out of bounds. He didn't go quite as deep as I thought he was going to go and I overthrew him a little bit.
"We had time for one more pass. I just threw it up there--it was definitely a Hail Mary.
"At the time, it really bothered me [that] we lost. But over the years, I've grown to appreciate the fact that I got to play in that game.
"Going into the game, I really thought we had a chance to win. They had the better record [USC was 7-2-1, UCLA 5-5] but we were coming off a great win over Washington. We went up to Seattle as 21-point underdogs. They were ranked No. 2 in the nation and we won on a Brad Dalusio field goal [from 43 yards] with 10 seconds left. [Maddox completed 23 of 41 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns.]
"I'd rank that Washington game my fondest memory of my UCLA career. No. 2 would be the USC game the next week. That's the one everyone seems to remember.
"People still ask me about it. I've watched it a few times on ESPN Classic. They seem to always play it during USC-UCLA game week."
(The game will be shown for a 10th time by ESPN Classic tonight at 8, following the 1982 Stanford-California game, which will be shown at 6.)