When great strength collides with great strength, look at the weaknesses to find the winner. The team that can best expose an opponentís downfall is generally the victor. Oklahomaís defense is the much weaker of the remaining groups, ranking 57th in scoring defense overall, 66th in the nation in yards per pass against (6.6 ypp) and 18th in yards per carry allowed (3.23 ypc - that may not sound bad, but these two programs are in the top ten in just about every other relevant statistic).
With the likes of leading December Madness MVP candidate Joe McKnight, smooth quarterback Mark Sanchez, veterans C.J. Gable, Patrick Turner and Stafon Johnson and deep threat Ronald Johnson on offense, the Trojans have plenty of talent on that side of the ball to match the defense.
USC uses that talent to exploit Oklahoma for big plays like Ronald Johnsonís 37 yard gain that immediately precedes Stafon Johnsonís 46 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. As could be imagined in a six-point game, that sequence by fellow Johnsons is the most crucial in the game and the most important in the December Madness tournament up to this point. The score puts USC up 27-10 with 7:41 to go, meaning that Oklahoma, which was within three points just four minutes earlier, has to score at least three times to close the gap.
Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford leads a couple of good drives against a slowing Trojan defense that has worked extra-hard to keep the Soonersí offense in check. But, itís all for naught as USC is essentially able to run the clock out before a final-minute field goal that seals the 30-24 win.
As was discussed in the previous game, the Trojans need to clean up their game a little bit if they want to win this whole thing. The games keep getting harder and USC cannot afford the lost fumble, the two missed field goals or the amount of penalties that it has in this Final Four game.
Either way, this is just another game of the Madness that lives up to the hype. Who wouldnít watch these matchups? The fifth-seeded Trojans will now play for it all in the December Madness Championship against either the #2 Florida Gators or #3 Texas Longhorns.
Player of the game: Joe McKnight (86 total yards, 1 TD)
Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: USC 59% - Oklahoma 41%