After Southern California had manhandled No. 1-ranked Alabama, about all Crimson Tide Coach Bear Bryant could say was: "It could have been worse."
Indeed, it could have been. The Trojans' flashy tailback, Charles White, ran for 199 yards, quarterback Paul McDonald threw two touchdown passes to Kevin Williams and USC rolled up 417 yards on the way to a 24-14 victory at Legion Field.
Alabama, which had its 12-game winning streak broken, appeared to be in the game only for a brief time and that was after a 41-yard touchdown run by Major Ogilvie and Alan McElroy's extra-point kick early in the third period.
That cut California's 10-0 halftime lead to 10-7, but the Trojans came back on their first possession of the fourth period to score on a six-yard pass from McDonald to Williams and the Tide was turned.
"They made us look worse than we are," Bryant said. "I don't know how good we are, but they are a helluva lot better than we are. I wish we had some of their culls."
White, who gained 149 of his yards in the first half and scored on a 40-yard run said. "This is my most satisfying game because Alabama was No. 1 and we took to them."
On Southern California's first possession, the Trojans drove from their 25 to the Alabama two-yard line, only to have White fumble the ball away to Alabama on a handoff on first down.
He was still angry with himself when Southern California got the ball back four plays later at Alabama 40 following a punt.
The Trojans ran the same play that was to get them most of their yards all afternoon - a straight pitch to White going to the short side of the field.
White carefully followed the blocking of 6-foot-7, 280-pound tackie Anthony Munoz and 6-5, 255-pound guard Pat Howell until he was through the line near the right sideline. He then broke back toward the middle of the field and outran Alabama's secondary for the score. "I wanted that one bad," he said.
It was a familiar scene all day to see big Trojan linemen standing over fallen Alabamians, both offensively and defensively.
"They owned the line of scrimmage, and when that happens it's not much of a contest," Bryant said.
Alabama had an opportunity to score in the first half, but the Trojans stopped the Tide at the one-yard line on two straight plays, then marched up the field, consuming 8:22 of the second period, to kick a field goal, a 40-yarder by Frank Jordan.
With USC on top, 17-7, following Ogilvie's touchdown and McDonald's first touchdown pass to Williams, the Trjoans got their biggest break of the game.
Taking over on the Alabama 46 following a short Tide punt. White ran for five yards and fullback Lynn Cain, who gained 97 yards for the day, ran for one, to move the ball to the 40.
McDonald then went back to pass and Alabama's E. J. Junior hit him just as he released the ball. It sailed downfield for grabs.
Alabama's Don McNeal appeared to have an interception at the Alabama 20, but the ball bounced off his hands and toward Williams.
Williams, in full stride grabbed the ball at the 15 and pranced into the end zone. Jordan's conversion gave USC a 24-7 lead with 8:34 left.
Alabama tried to make it a game at the end in front of the record crowd of 77.313. Rutledge threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Bart Kraut with 7:10 to play but McElroy's extra-point kick proved to be the game's final point.
Alabama had the ball three more times but Tony Nathan fumbled twice and Rutledge threw an interception.
"We were just ready to play this game," said Southern California Coach John Robinson. "We really put on a show out there, didn't we?"