Game Review: Utah State Aggies vs. USC Trojans, 9/21/2013, 12:30 PT.
Weather: Warm ’80s with a bright sun; Ticket Price:$15, Face $60
“Put it on the list” by Tree
The Coliseum is adjacent to USC’s campus, and I was fairly impressed with the stadium. While I took the Metro, I did see some fans tailgating near the stadium but I have no idea how they got there. On the outside of the Coliseum, local food vendors ring the stadium. Happy to try some of the local fare, I grabbed some fresh tacos. I then found my way to my seat. As is often the case, I was sitting at the corner of the end zone. The Coliseum itself looked pretty good. The seats were a little rusty and could have used a coat of paint. Unfortunately, the track is no longer there, having been filled in to make more seats. More disappointing was that they had put up some temporary tents in front of the iconic archway entrances. I was hoping to recapture the Olympic vibe but with the facility changes that didn’t happen. On the other side of the stadium, they had put a massive horizontal scoreboard. The resolution was fantastic and it looked like they had put the live game feed from CBS on the screen. The bad thing was that the scoreboard did not have a game clock. So the video scoreboard was the only spot that had the time left in the game and it didn’t always appear on the TV feed. It got to be fairly annoying especially when the game was going down to the wire. The fans were vocal and into the game. In the fourth quarter, the USC band sent a group into the stands to fire up fans section by section. USC’s fight song was instantly familiar and I got caught up with the rest of the fans. It was a unique tradition I have not seen yet elsewhere. Truth be told, the fans didn’t need much firing up though. They were not as excitable as the Fresno State fans the night before but still active. The restrooms and concessions stands inside the stadium were fairly standard except they did not sell a souvenir beverage cup. The weather was in the low 80’s with clear skies. I was glad to get a break from the sun at halftime by making a quick run to the concession stand.
This game was part of a stadium trifecta where I also hit Fresno State and UCLA. I was crashing on my brother’s couch in Paramount which is near Long Beach. The USC website provided solid directions on how to take the Metro to the game. At total of $6 for the new metro card and a weekend pass, my transportation costs were extremely affordable. My brother dropped me off at the Compton Metro stop. After navigating through several well-meaning folks who wanted to help me find Jesus I was ready to go on the Metro. I was not concerned for my safety, but I did stick out. Little did I know my train would turn into would be not only a tour of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area but also a tour of the U.S social stratum. Taking the blue line to downtown L.A., I experience train shopping where various entrepreneurs were selling candy bars, cans of soda and bus tokens. As I made the switch to Expo line, I began to see other USC fans also getting on the train. Eventually, we ended up at USC, with the train now filled with more affluent and primarily white riders. Metro had staffed up the station so it was very easy to figure out where to go. I walked with the crowd through USC giving out some free mini-footballs and beer cozies. I hadn’t bought a ticket yet, but I knew there were still tickets at the gate so I felt like I had an advantage with the scalpers. I saw a gentlemen looking to dump some tickets. With a quick negotiation, I grabbed a ticket for $15. The return trip on the Metro the game was also well organized by Metro and I got a bonus free walk through the USC rose garden. Evidently, the increased use of the Metro was being pushed. I overheard some folks commenting that driving to the stadium was normally a two hour affair and they had taken the metro as a cheaper and more efficient alternative. Given that these folks were senior citizens lends some support to the general safety of the ride.
The Aggies came into the game with a highly ranked offense in the young season, so I thought I might see another shoot out. The USC defense had other ideas and they managed to keep the Aggies in check. This game was even both in terms of stats and play on the field. There were also not many turnovers. However, USC receivers did not seem to be particularly sharp, dropping several catchable balls. On the Aggies side, there was a questionable and unsuccessful fake punt early in the 4th quarter on their 34 yard line. That seemed like an awfully panicky call that early in the game. But, USC could not capitalize and had to punt. The USC defense remained stout the rest of the way and the Aggies never crossed the fifty yard line again.
Given USC’s tradition, I consider a visit to the Coliseum a must. The number of Hall of Fame running backs that have come through the school is more than enough reason to attend. Add to that a great band, efficient public transportation and a great approach to food vending; I was not disappointed with my visit. True, the game was a bit of a yawner as witnessed by the fan sitting next to me who fell asleep at halftime and managed to sleep through the whole third quarter. He, however, was an anomaly. Overall it was a very good, if not great, experience. A rivalry game with UCLA or Stanford would be likely be a great experience.