With 9:20 to go in the second quarter, McDonald dropped back to throw from his own 47, and the Ohio State coaches upstairs, who had called a blitz for the second time in a row, smelled a sack in the making.
Tucker: "Close it up! Close it up."
Carroll: "Hammer again.... Come on, T [Todd] Bell, come on, T Bell. Aw, Todd didn't show up."
Mason: "God dawg it! God dawg it! God dawg it!"
The pass was complete for 53 yards and a touchdown to the uncanny Trojan flanker, Kevin Williams. It was his eighth touchdown catch this season on just 25 receptions. The Buckeyes blitzed only five times all afternoon. Because of this one, which put Ohio State into man-to-man coverage, USC led 10-0. Later in the second quarter White made his first big run, dashing up the middle for 45 yards. But Todd Bell hammered the ball out of White's grasp from behind, and Jim Laughlin recovered for OSU on the Ohio State 20.
Carroll: "We got it. Holy mackerel! Great job. Who did that? Bell? He made the best play, just knocked the ball out."
Mason: "Leo Dash 37, 25.... Yeah, if we do it right now and overload that nickel defense.... Right, overload their tackle inside of the one angling in."
Carroll: "We're on our 33. Tell him to run out the clock."
But Schlichter was having none of that. On a third-and-one with just 38 seconds to play in the half, he found USC lined up as it had been the two previous plays, in an ill-advised short-yardage defense. Schlichter passed for 67 yards to Gary Williams and—bingo!—the score was 10-10. The Trojans were stunned, and Marshall grumped, "I forgot to tell them down there how little time was left. Of course they would pass. Damn!"
At the half, Robinson told his team, "Men, we've had our ups and downs in the first half, and the second half will be the same thing. Just keep playing. And don't blink."