"It was actually three different games. One, a kind of cheek-to-cheek, jaw-to-jaw game. And then there was a game that we came back in and dominated. Finally, there was a game that they came back in and dominated and almost won. We are real lucky to get out of it, under the circumstances.
"I have never seen a team that I thought was completely beaten, then in the fourth quarter come back so strong. I have to compliment Coach Robinson and his staff and his players.... They got some kind of quarterback."
"It seemed to me we were out of rhythm most of the day," said Robinson. "Maybe our biorhythms were out of synch. The passes in the first half were just off the receivers' fingertips and just missed...."
As for playing it safe at the end—perish the thought.
"I couldn't come in here and look my team in the face after going for a tie," Robinson said. "There's just no way—it's impossible. You play to win the game. That's the only way. The kids play too hard out there and they don't play to tie.
"I was very impressed with their defense and their team. It's a privilege to play Alabama. They have a great history, a great team and a great university, and, my God, that was a great show out there today."
That it was. But for USC fans, it was a little like watching John Wayne gun down all the assistant baddies, step out on Main Street to dispatch the archvillain and then have his six-gun stick in its holster. It wasn't the happy ending they expected.