USC v. UCLA (The Handoff and Block)

If you don’t know, I attended USC, the University of Southern California.

And before you start, I’ve heard them all: University of Spoiled Children, University of South Central, University of Stupid Coaches, University of South Carolina (really?!), etc.

Our arch rival is Westwood High School, er, ucla. I have a personal opinion as to why we can’t get an NFL team to stick around Los Angeles… it’s because we have two highly competitive college teams. And believe you me, you tend to belong to one camp and not the other… and NEVER both! I didn’t like football prior to college, now I love it! I’m sure I signed a paper somewhere stating I’ll be a fan for life.

I spent a few years in the student section and then moved over to the other side of the field where I had season tickets for seven years. I looked forward to every fall when Blaine (a classmate) would call me to tell me how much cash I owed him because he’d just picked up our tickets again. We’d tailgate in front of the phys ed building, walk over to Heritage Hall for the marching band’s warm up, follow the band over to where they serenaded the alumni, and then follow them over to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, kicking the pole as we went. Then we’d anxiously wait in our seats for the real fun to start. (I say that with just a hint of sarcasm because we suffered some horrible seasons during the Robinson and Hackett years.) We always had a blast.

And I generally had my camera on my person. One such game was the USC v. UCLA game in 1999, toward the end of a mediocre season in which Carson Palmer (yes, THE Carson Palmer), Mike Van Raaphorst, and John Fox were our quarterbacks and Chad Morton (little brother to Johnnie Morton, also of USC) and R. Jay Soward were our principle runningback and wide receiver, respectively.

USC v. UCLAAnyway, I got really lucky on this photo. I was shooting film at the time, not digital, but I was using my Elan IIe and not the A-1.

I’ve always loved this photo!

Fox had just handed off the ball to Sultan McCullough (tailback), and that was what I was concentrating on. However, once I developed the photo… low and behold, there’s an outstanding block just adjacent to them. Donta Kendrick, a senior on the offensive line, delivered a great block to someone on the Bruins’ squad (I can’t see a number on the jersey so I’ve never known who the victim is).

You can even see the chalk flying under the feet of Fox and McCullough, something I particularly enjoy. You can see the muscles flexing… and the fact that Fox’s eyes are closed. Not bad for being about forty yards from the action. (I love my camera! And its lenses!)

For the record, USC won, 17-7 was the final score. More importantly, we broke an 8-game losing streak and have since gone 11-1 against the Bruins.

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