November 6, 2007
Insider: Revisiting the hit on DeSean Jackson
California had moved 34 yards in eight plays, on its first possession in the Coliseum. The Golden Bears faced a third down and six, in USC territory, with the clock ticking under 12:00.
"We were just waiting," cornerback Terrell Thomas said. "The safety was told all week: when that formation comes, he's got to hit him.
"They were driving the ball on us at the time. Kevin got a good break, good read and decleated him. I think that set the tone for the game."
Kevin, of course, is Kevin Ellison. The man he hit is Cal's electric wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Viewers have clicked onto YouTube more than 75,000 times to watch this play:
USC had been in man coverage, and Jackson curled away from Thomas and cut inside. As Nate Longshore's pass sailed into the receiver's hands at the 30-yard line, Ellison drove his upper body into Jackson's, leveling the receiver and jarring the ball loose.
Jackson discarded his helmet and rolled back and forth on the turf, before returning to the sideline. The Trojans held him to two receptions for 41 yards and kept Cal out of the end zone, in a 23-9 victory.
"It helped establish us as a physical football team in the beginning of that game," safety Taylor Mays said. "We're going to be looking to do that on the first play this Saturday."
USC plays at Cal this week, and Ellison deflected questions about the hit.
"That was just part of the game," he said.
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