The USC Trojans came agonizingly close to upsetting the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal last weekend in a 56-48 triple-overtime loss. After several hours of play and five impressive drives between the two teams during the overtime sessions, USC running back Curtis McNeal fumbled the ball during the third overtime and watched his team's chances of victory slip away as Stanford recovered the ball in the endzone.
According to a report by Greg Beachem of Mercury News, McNeal had this to say about the fumble on Wednesday:
"It took a lot away from me, especially when you're in a groove, having a good game, and then for something like that to happen...It's not even just the fumble. I fumbled, and we lost. That just really hit me real hard, because we played our hearts out that game. I just know how hard my teammates work all year long in games like that, and then I fumbled at the end."
McNeal can certainly beat himself up for the team's loss, but he must also acknowledge that he was USC's most valuable offensive player. His touchdown runs of 61 and 25 yards at the beginning of the third quarter accounted for nearly half of the Trojans' offense in regulation and gave USC a 10-point lead over the Cardinal at one point.
McNeal is ready to put the fumble behind him:
"We don't play for moral victories here. We play for the W, and we're going to keep going for it. Things happen in life. You've just got to keep going."
The Trojans will need McNeal ready for Friday's game against Colorado. The Buffaloes (1-8, 0-5 in the Pac-12) may be the worst team in the conference, but they will certainly be motivated at home on a nationally televised game against the Trojans. If USC comes out and plays sloppily, Colorado could make the game very close and interesting. McNeal can help ensure that the Trojans avoid a slow start and avenge last week's loss with a win this week.