USC’s John Robinson speaks at Little Rock Touchdown Club Part 1

USC-ND ’74 – The Anthony Davis Game

Uploaded by on Aug 6, 2006

Notre Dame was killing USC 24-0 with a minute left in first half of the 1974 game in Los Angeles. Anthony Davis caught a TD pass to close out the half, then returned the 2nd half kickoff for a touchdown, and USC ran off 55 straight points in 17 minutes. 55-24 final score.

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Today on August 27, 2012 I got to hear John Robinson speak at the Little Rock Touchdown Club, and I got to ask him a question. “Do you remember John McKay’s halftime speech at the 1974 Notre Dame at USC game?”

John Robinson responded that he remembered being down 17-0 and McKay called a play on 4th down and 1 that John Robinson knew would fail because Notre Dame had their goal line defense in. Sure enough it lost three yards.

Down 24-6 at half, McKay talked to the players in a calm voice and told them that he was prouder of this team than any other that he had ever coached. He told them to calm down and they were playing like they had a case of the jitters.

The second half was history and USC scored on the first play (100 yard kickoff return by Anthony Davis) and scored again and again till they won 55-24.

Here are some comments from the website redroom:

For Trojan fans, it was not a game, it was a sighting. It was Fatima, Lourdes and the Burning Bush combined. 

For Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian, it was the Seventh Circle of Hell. 

It was a 17-minute Southern California earthquake, epicentered at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on a fall Saturday in 1974. 

Notre Dame 24, USC 0. Then USC managed a touchdown on a swing pass from quarterback Pat Haden to tailback Anthony Davis with 10 seconds left in the first half. 

“We had dominated the first half,” said legendary Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian.  After Davis scored, “that didn’t bother me that much, because we had done very well in the game. “ 

“I said gentlemen, we’re behind,” USC coach John McKay once recalled of his halftime speech, “and two guys who were math majors put up their hands and said, ‘Yeah, that’s right.’ ” 

In a 2000 interview McKay said if Davis ran the second half kickoff back for a touchdown, “we would win the game.” Over the years, McKay’s remarks were changed to “Davis will run the second half kickoff back for a touchdown,” but like everything else that day, his words are now legend and myth. Fertig was a myth-teller par excellence. According to his story, McKay stated, “And I’ll tell you one other thing, we’re gonna return the second half kick-off.” 

Fertig further stated McKay told special teams blocker Mosi Tatupu “there’s no rule in this game against blocking,” and “if you’ll get off your rear end” and David Farmer also would block, “if you two will hit somebody, Anthony Davis will go 98 yards for the touchdown,” adding “he was wrong. A.D. went 100 yards.” 

USC radio announcer Tom Kelly famously started the second half broadcast, “It’s been an Irish afternoon,” but after Davis took the ball out of the end zone he immediately got excited . . . very excited.  

“. . . Davis coming out at the 10, 15, 20, he’s coming out at the 30 . . . HE’S GOING ALL THE WAY! They won’t catch him. Touchdown USC, 100 YARDS!” 

Dressed to the nines in a black suit, carnation in his pocket, national title ring glistening on his finger, A.D.’s eyes got big as he recalled the moment. 

“I haven’t seen a kick like this in two years. End over end, perfect kick, right in my hands, two yards deep in the end zone . . . And I always had a seven-yard relationship with my wedge. Every time they were hitting on defenders, I was making my breaks. I always gave myself three ways to run, so when I hit the edge, the whole field opened up, and I hit the sideline, on an angle, and I tell you, I was fast on the ring because I outran that angle, and it was on.” 

“We were trying to kick the ball away from him,” said Parseghian, looking like a guy trying not to think about a long-ago mugging. “I said kick it down to one side or the other, whatever you feel most comfortable with, I remember it vividly, and he kicks it right to Anthony, his left side, right in front of us, and I had the impulse to grab him, not like I could have.” 

The next 17 minutes were the most exciting in college football and Los Angeles sports history. That span included the kick-off return for a touchdown, a TD pass, a fumble recovery, another Davis TD run from scrimmage followed by A.D. diving in for a two-point conversion, a 56-yard punt return, another TD pass, an interception, another TD pass, and finally Charles Phillips’s 58-yard interception return for a touchdown. 55-24. 

Up in the broadcast booth, Ohio State coach Woody Hayes must have felt like a Prussian military commander with a binocular-view of Napoleon’s Italian Campaign, knowing he would have to face them down the road. The USC rooting section started chanting, “Woody, you’re next!” in reference to the upcoming Rose Bowl. 

USC won the national championship after a thrilling, comeback 18-17 win over the Buckeyes. Parseghian never coached after that season. Rumors have it he sees a therapist to combat visions of a white horse constantly running around a field.

8-27 jrobinson Coach John Robinson – USC, LA Rams
Former USC Trojan and Los Angeles Rams head coach leading USC to four Rose Bowl wins, a national championship and two final season #2 rankings while taking the Rams to two NFC Championship games and drafting Eric Dickerson as the #1 player in the NFL draft. His UNLV team defeated the Razorbacks 31-14 in the 2000 Las Vegas Bowl then lost the 2001 season opener against the Hogs at War Memorial with 18 seconds remaining in the game. Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame 2009.

Did you know that USC has a great football tradition that goes back 100 years. Take a look at this Rose Bowl Victory in 1945:

No. 17: 1945 Rose Bowl (USC 25, Tennessee 0)

photo from rosebowlhistory.org
photo from rosebowlhistory.org

The last of the Trojans war-time Rose bowl victories came via quarterback Jim Hardy’s prolific arm as the USC legend delivered two more touchdown passes in a Trojan rout of the 7-0-1 Tennessee Volunteers.

The Trojans would finish undefeated, with only two ties to blemish an otherwise perfect season.

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By Everette Hatcher III, on August 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm, under Current Events. No Comments
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