USC Picture Of The Night

Marcus Allen rushed for 226 yards and two touchdowns as No. 1 USC squeaked past No. 2 Oklahoma, 28-24, in 1981.

Of course, the play everyone remembers is QB John Mazur’s 7-yard TD pass to TE Fred Cornwell (below) for the winning score.

19 thoughts on “USC Picture Of The Night

    1. I met Marcus Allen the following year. I guess, he was dropping his date off at the girls dorm next to Trojan Hall. By now, he was a rookie with the Raiders. I was on my way back to Trojan Hall, from a party at the Row, when, all of a sudden, a red Ferrari pulled up to the curb in front of the main door at the girls dorm ahead. The car was parked straight in my path, so as I sidestepped the vehicle, I looked in and waved, and saw it was Marcus. Trojan Hall was just beyond, where I was assigned to live initially, my freshman year. It was somewhere around 2-3 am. I couldn’t help but call out and say “hi”, even though it was late and he was with his date. Regardless, Marcus called out back, “hello”. I then briefly explained to Marcus I was simply a drunk freshman headed back to Trojan Hall, but could I shake his hand? He said sure and reached his arm up through the open “t” top and shook my hand, smiling and laughing. It was one of the very interesting times we all have attending USC. What a good sport Marcus was, even though it wasn’t required, but much appreciated.

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      1. Hi. ……….Hello.

        🙄 Awwwww. Touching Steve. Did you wash your hands the rest of the year..?

        Asking for a friend. Really.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I also shook OJs hand twice, over on the street outside the west end of the USC track. I’m just saying, these were some of my personal experiences walking campus as a freshman, for one reason or another. I do recall OJ had huge hands, remarkably so.

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      3. Both Marcus Allen and OJ Simpson were very nice shaking my hand, out of the spotlight, in common friendship, strictly by chance. Of course, I complimented gladly and deservedly.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. In 1980 and 1981 you could occasionally bump into Marcus on a Thursday night at the 502 club across campus in the Old University Village. He was not a frequent visitor. He was completely cool hanging out with the common Trojans. I rarely went to the 9-0, so I cannot comment.

        After a somewhat lighter practice (shorts and shells*) every Thursday evening, Marv Goux would have the last word. Everyone knew that Thursday night was party night around campus before all the kids would head out to the OC or other communities to “party” back home (not me) on Friday and Saturday.
        Indeed, I think the “B” school didn’t even have classes back then on a Friday as all the students were so hung over and heading for home home. With a wry (but serious) grin, Goux would give the team the same admonition,
        “It’s Thursday night. No runnin’ the streets. Got a big game on Saturday.”

        If the Trojans were traveling, the 55 players allowed by the NCAA to travel were at Heritage Hall pretty early on a Friday AM to take the bus to the airport for the trip. If we were home that week, I bet some players had a little fun on a Thursday night around campus.

        *gym shorts, helmet, shoulder pads. Full practice including tackling but just “wrapping up and driving.” Full 7 on 7, and 11 on 11, etc.

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  1. Great photos and history, Scott!
    Your text is a little off-base, however.

    Hightly touted recruit John Mazur was the “heir apparent” at QB for 1980–sitting well behind 5th year former walk-on Gordon Adams all year. Scott Tinsely was the back-up QB for 1980, I think. As a RS Soph, John’s job in the 1981 season was to hand-of to Marcus, who broke all kinds of records for carrys and yardage on the way to the Heisman. Mazur, a clever, pre-dental school lefty, was not given the opportunity to sling it much in 1981. The passing game was horrific in 1981. Most of our experienced WR had graduated in 1979 and 1980. The offense was so one-dimensional that we lost predictably to some good teams who stacked the LOS against JR’s run-happy O.

    Indeed, in the photo of Marcus above, young WR Malcolm Moore (#22) is on his way to block downfield for Marcus–the WRs job for 1981. Poor Malcolm (younger brother of Manfred and Kenney) was never given much opportunity to showcase his talents–good hands, good route runner, great team player. In 1982 Malcolm was relegated behind Jeff Simmons, who would have a break-out Senior year as our possession receiver.

    Beating a strong OU team in 1981 with our young offense was an epic accomplishment. Young TE Freddie Cornwell was in to replace graduated TE’s Hobie Brenner and Vic Rahkshani. Mazur was young, the WR’s were young, with really no deep threat. It was an epic victory!

    In 1982, Tollner came in as OC to “bring the USC O” into the modern day.
    Highly recruited QB, Sean Salisbury, was given the charge and Mazur left for Texas A/M, where his career never really took off. The rest is history.

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  2. Ted Tollner was another disaster of a head coach. He came with the idea SC’s offense needed to be changed, and I believe lost to Memphis in the opener at the Coliseum… Offensive coordinators like Hackett, Tollner, and now Helton are no guarantee to be great head coaches because many lack the ability to motivate, and lead young men.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. To start his brief career in 1983 as USC HC, tommyd, Tollner and the team lined up against a solid Florida Gator team at the Coliseum. Payback was due, as we had lost a tough one in the Swamp in 1982 17-9, managing only 3 field goals and losing to a team we should have beaten. Weakside LB Wilbur Marshall of the Gators made a name for himself on National TV in that 1982 game with about 17 tackles, sweeping down the unprotected backside of our o-line as we ran the slowly developing 28 pitch.

      In the payback game in 1983 we were behind the whole way. With a few seconds left in the game, Tollner and QB Sean Salisbury (on his newly reconstructed knee) engineered a miraculous (mostly via passing) TD drive. Salisbury wired a dime to Z receiver Timmy Ware on crossing pattern (our favorite 6 route) for the game TYING TD! Timmy was always clutch. The Trojans sideline went berserk. On the ensuing PAT, we missed it and ended in a tie. A perfect beginning to “the Tollner Era.”

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      1. I don’t know about Memphis, pt …but Larry knew how to (mostly) beat UCLA when it counted.

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