USD Football 1991

The defensive scheme that's an

offensive dream; that's the widely practiced yet equally

criticized Prevent Defense.

BY LARRY BORTSTEIN Five seconds left. Five receivers fan out down the field. The quarterback, his team losing by six points, throws a spiral as secondary defenders, two of them sent into the game for this one play, race wi ldly to cover everybody. Well, not quite everybody. The ball majestically lands in the out- stretched hands of one receiver who lopes untouched into the end zone. Score one for the prevent defense. Yes, another seemingly certain victory has been prevented. Everyone has seen o r attended a "cliffhanger," or has a favorite story about one. The NCAA applies that label to games won on the final play and since I97 1 has officially kept tabs on each major college game decided that way. Of the 90 "cliffhangers" in Division 1-A games between I97 1-90, 22-nearly 25 percent- were won on a last-ditch pass play- most recently the Nov. 3, I990, game between Southern Mississippi and Southwestern Louisiana. In that game, Southern Miss quarterback Brett Favre connected on an I I-yard scor- ing pass to Michael Welch on the final play to tie the score 13-13. Jim Taylor won it with his extra point kick. That's interesting enough, but consider that 59 of those cliffhangers-nearly two- thirds-were won by field goals on the last play. How many of those fi eld goals. asks Chris Allen, USC's associate head coach and defensive coordinator. were the result Larry Bortstein is a sportswriter for The Orange County (Calif.) Register.

How many times have you heard the TV color man say: "Uh-Oh. They're in the Prevent defense."? SNATCHING DEFEAT FROMTHE JAWS OF VICTORY TOUCHDOWN ILLUSTRATED

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