The biggest upset ever has finally been answered. This time, the rookie coach was on the USC sideline and the fourth-down play went the Trojans' way.
Stanford assistant coach Tavita Pritchard has now been on both sides. On Oct. 6, 2007, making his first career start, Pritchard stunned then second-ranked USC, 24-23, in the Coliseum with a fourth-down touchdown pass to Mark Bradford, ruining the Trojans' chances of a national title.
Pritchard had to convert a fourth-and-20 on the same winning touchdown drive.
On Saturday, in a crucial Pac-12 Conference at the Coliseum, Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler and Marquis Lee connected on a fourth-down conversion late in the game that led to Andre Heidari's 47-yard field goal.
USC beat fourth-ranked Stanford, 20-17, ruining the Cardinal's chances of reaching a national title game and putting in jeopardy Stanford's chances of reaching the Pac-12 title game.
"It came down to a blocked field goal and two interceptions," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "You're not going to win, especially on the road, doing that."
The first interception, which ended a long drive, was really set when the Wildcat formation lost four yards on a first-and-goal play.
Tyler Gaffney, who rushed for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and the offensive line had been cramming the ball down the Trojans' throat.
Instead the Cardinal (6-2, 8-2) went for the trick play and lost momentum. Kevin Hogan had to throw the ball. Stanford tried the same play, without success, near the end of the first half.
The second interception came about because of a tipped ball.
Stanford defensive end Henry Anderson missed the end of the game after apparently injuring his knee.
Kicker Jordan Williamson was set to play but then pulled up lame in warmups, so Shaw went with backup Conrad Ukropina.
"We came to play but they got the benefit of the doubt," Gaffney said. "They've been hot the last couple of weeks."
Stanford, now a game behind Oregon in the Pac-12 North Division, hosts California this Saturday in the Big Game, with Notre Dame slated to arrive in two weeks.
After that, well, there's a bowl game in Stanford's future. It just might not be so rosy.