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It must be a good win if that’s what coach says

BY GOLLY we’re back.

We won, we won, our gritty little Trojans fighting together with the heart of a champion to somehow, some way beat mighty Arizona.

“We believe,” just like our students spelled it out on their bellies across the way behind the USC bench -- the brains among us obviously knowing how hard it is these days to beat unranked teams with losing records.

Don’t know why yet, but our goal posts were still standing in the Coliseum after this one, everyone remaining in the stands, though, to cheer on our never-say-die -- if you don’t count Stanford -- heroes.

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“This was really a good day for us,” gushed Pete Carroll, “and a great day for everyone here at the Coliseum. . . . It was just a heck of a day for us.”

We certainly don’t remember many like it.

From the very start it looked as if our gritty little Trojans wanted nothing to do with the three touchdowns the oddsmakers were giving them, preferring to do it on their own.

Our guys are like that, as they already have shown against Idaho, Washington and Stanford.

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“To get a good win and finish it strong at the end was really cool,” said our coach, apparently a little bored with the good old days when we just used to crush teams in this place.

“It was a blast,” Carroll said. “This stadium was awesome. The Coliseum was so cool at the end.”

The Dodgers never figured it out, but USC now has figured a way to keep everyone from leaving early. After all, who knows if and when Joe McKnight might win it for us?

Sounds like our motto for the rest of the season.

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We’re back, all right, doing something Northern Arizona and Washington State can’t say -- we beat Arizona. We were also able to run up the score with a last-minute field goal to help our BCS cause.

We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to impress those BCS people. And I’m sure everyone took notice of this one.

“We really wanted to see us play really good, serious ball across the board,” our coach said, and that’s why he’s our coach because he sees things out there we don’t. “It was great to get a good win like this.”

As for any outsider beyond our gritty little Trojans family who might expect more from our guys, Carroll said, “Our expectations are also high.”

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In fact he said the guys were really frustrated at halftime with the score tied at 10.

“I was trying to tell them the sky wasn’t falling,” Carroll said, and sometimes, as we know, a coach has to lie to his players.

We might be the deepest team in the country but come on, we’ve had some injuries. And yet our gritty little Trojans still overcame, somehow getting a split against the likes of Stanford and Arizona.

“I don’t worry about other people’s expectations,” Carroll said, “and I’m not going to go into depression about all the what-ifs. This was a hard game, so we’re going to enjoy it.”

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Amen to that, because who knows how many more chances we’re going to get to celebrate big wins like this the rest of the way?

THERE’S NO quit in those Nebraska farmers, the Big Red outscoring Oklahoma State, 14-7, in the second half to only lose the game, 45-14.

It was a home game for Nebraska, “the greatest fans in college football,” as they like to call themselves because they like to applaud the play of the opposition -- getting a chance to do that a lot lately.

I HEARD a radio commercial that has a number of Kings players talking, one of them saying, “I play for L.A. because I can’t imagine playing for anyone else.”

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If he can’t play for the worst team in the league, he does have a point.

WENT TO the movies this week, caught “The Kingdom,” which has Jennifer Garner locked in a gym in Saudi Arabia shooting free throws and suggesting Shaq might’ve been a better free throw shooter if given the same treatment.

I didn’t have pen and paper to write exactly what was said, but she also mentions something about Shaq and Kobe still being together, prompting Jamie Foxx’s character to disagree.

“Kobe’s a hater,” he says.

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That shows you how long ago they must’ve filmed the scene. It would’ve rung truer had he said, “Kobe’s a baby.”

ALMOST FOUR hours before the USC game, a police officer asked an SUV driver to stop in the Coliseum “passes only” lot, but the driver kept going. The officer placed himself in front of the car and the driver bumped him. The USC fan got out, shouted at the officer, got back in and started rolling his car toward the officer once again. Then he got out again to yell some more.

The officer called for help, and the man’s wife arrived -- although I don’t think that’s whom he called. Now I have no idea what the citation might cost for disobeying and assaulting a police officer, but after watching the man’s wife get in her husband’s face, I have a feeling he’s going to be doing some hard time.

TODAY’S LAST word comes in e-mail from Robert Brown: “It is not hard to take the tack you do to highlight the obvious negativism of various aspects of the sports world. You are at the bottom of the barrel. It is so easy to use your pulpit to highlight the downfalls of others without giving them an outlet for retort. What a coward you are. You are also a closet racist. You continue to attack Karl Dorrell notwithstanding the circumstances or his past accomplishments. Didn’t you look at the stat sheets for Saturday’s UCLA game vs. Notre Dame? UCLA beat them statistically. That shows that the team was prepared and ready. No team could overcome those turnovers and inept play of the freshman quarterback. . . . Where is your criticism of Mike Scioscia for being swept out of the playoffs again?”

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Right there in black and white on Page 2 the very next day.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.


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