Miller won his heat in his best time ever, 9.2. So Greene, who usually races only hard enough to win, sprinted away from his field in 9.1. He did not go as fast in Friday's semifinal, partly because he spent the last 25 yards looking casually behind him.
Before the start of the final, Greene eyed Trojans Kuller and Miller in the lanes alongside him. "Better jump quick, boys," he said, "or I'll be long gone." In the far outside lane, loose and smiling and apparently forgetting that he had barely made it to the final, Simpson did not bother to listen. He was too busy telling someone, "This is where we really make some points."
Greene was not long gone at the start. But he did prove that he is still champion. He beat Miller by a step in 9.2, hitting the string with an expression on his face that made his margin seem like six yards. Farther back, Kuller and Simpson fulfilled O.J.'s promise, finishing fourth and sixth. With Miller's second USC had 13 more points for a total of 24 and an almost insurmountable lead over UCLA.
Lennox Miller, a soft-spoken Jamaican who is as intense and introverted as Simpson is flamboyant, was disconsolate after the hundred, but his teammates treated him like a winner. "No. 2 in the nationals is pretty good," said Half-miler Dennis Carr—who closed fast to finish second to Oregon's Wade Bell in his own event the next night. "Besides, we're going to win this thing." Wolfe tried his best to be cautious but could not hide his elation. "There were a lot of good men there," he said. "To get 24 points against them is really something." The irrepressible Simpson added one more promise: "Just wait till the relay, Coach," he said. "We're ready for some 38s."
Simpson was right again. McCullouch burst off the blocks almost as fast as he had in the hurdles, Kuller and Simpson pulled farther in front and Miller ran fastest of all to finish more than 15 yards ahead of Flowers, anchor man for Tennessee. "This makes up for the 100," Miller said. The time, 38.6, was .4 second below the team's own world mark.
There was little finesse involved in the USC record, but the runners made up for this shortcoming with sheer speed. "Lennox and I were both injured for a while," said McCullouch, "and O. J. lost a month during spring football practice. So, we haven't had more than a month to work on our passes. We'll go faster when we perfect them." "Three of us are sophomores and Earl is a junior," added Simpson. "Tell me we won't be back next year."
Miller was back in less than half an hour. He won a 220-yard trial and then, in his third hard race within the hour, finished a good second to Tommie Smith's 20.2, a record.
By then the team championship was a foregone conclusion, and the Trojans were out merely to add to their impressive team triumph. World Record Holder Bob Seagren won the pole vault in an almost routine 17'4", without a miss, as his teammate, Paul Wilson, making the best vault of his life on his second try, placed second at the same height.
USC was also coming through with a lot of backup points. Gary Carlsen took second in the discus, and Geoff Vanderstock, recovering from a severe case of penicillin poisoning, ran far beyond Wolfe's expectations to gain second in the 440-yard hurdles. Half-miler Carr's attitude was fairly typical: "Coming off the last turn I said to myself, 'the team needs points, kid, and here you are seventh.' So I went as hard as I could. We got 86 points, and I got eight of them with that second place. That's what I was running for." Carr passed some pretty good men in the stretch—Tennessee's Larry Kelly, Georgetown's Ricardo Urbina and Villanova's Dave Patrick—and who was there nailing down one point for sixth place? Teammate Dave Buck.
In the final event of the three-day meet, with the title clinched and many of the heroes departed, Wolfe watched his mile-relay team place sixth for the last of USC's points. The team, with a best time of 3:11.3, had not been expected to make the final. But, led by the ailing Vanderstock and Buck, it beat two teams in the finals, running 3:09.