Michael Pittman Jr. should go down as a USC great because of games like Friday night’s. After a relatively quiet first three quarters against Colorado, the senior wide receiver exploded for 156 yards and two touchdowns in the final frame against the Buffaloes, helping the Trojans overcome a 10-point deficit and earn a tight 35-31 victory. USC hasn’t had a ton of big games as Pittman has ascended to stardom, but it’s pretty difficult to think of one he didn’t show up for. Even as a seldom-used sophomore in 2017, Pittman made a massive impact in the contests that mattered most. Over a three-game span at the end of the season, he caught a third-down touchdown to jump start the offense in the team’s Pac-12 South-clinching win over Colorado, returned a punt for a score on a trick play against rival UCLA and exploded for seven receptions, 146 yards and a touchdown in USC’s close win over Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Pittman definitely fits that bill. Perhaps it’s a result of being the son of a long-time NFL running back, but Pittman seems to have a level of comfort under pressure and an understanding of these big moments that few players do. Besides his prolific performance against Utah, Pittman isn’t likely to show up in the USC record books in a major way. He could find his way into the program’s top 10 in all-time touchdown receptions, but his reception and receiving yard numbers won’t be nearly great enough to match all-time greats like Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Because Pittman didn’t become a prominent member of the offense until his junior year, he just hasn’t had enough time to make that sort of impression with cumulative numbers. 2018 doesn’t bring back fond memories for any USC fan, but Pittman was a silver lining for much of it. “The line just opened up and Kedon just threw a great ball. It just kept me in stride and I just kind of ran around the defense,” Pittman said of the clincher. Pittman’s performance this season has him shooting up NFL draft boards, and for good reason. He is showcasing not only a well-rounded skill set, but a propensity for excelling when the lights shine the brightest, which NFL teams love. But for the last few years, Pittman has been doing something that has greater long-term significance: solidifying himself as a certifiable Trojan great. Pittman was the biggest reason the Trojans nearly beat BYU and stayed within striking distance of Washington on the road. And Friday night, when USC needed a win to continue to control its own destiny in the South, he willed the team to victory with his dominant fourth quarter. His six catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns against Colorado (man, Buffalo fans won’t miss seeing No. 6 out there) were crucial to a team that, at that point, felt it could win the division again. USC fell apart at the end of the season, but it was certainly no fault of Pittman’s; he averaged six receptions for 109.8 yards and a touchdown per game over his final five contests. But Pittman will leave his legacy on this program for his reputation as a big-game player. People may forget Pittman’s first two catches on the game-winning drive, one of which was a tough, contested grab on third-and-10, because of how the possession ended. Pittman took a pass over the middle and turned on the jets to speed past the defenders before diving across the goal line for the go-ahead 37-yard score with just over two minutes left. Pittman’s 77-yard touchdown, in which he beat a defender to a jump ball and held off another on a long run to the end zone as the Coliseum erupted around him, is likely to be the defining play of this season. Pittman got to work almost immediately in the fourth quarter, reeling in a 44-yard touchdown along the left sideline with 11 and a half minutes left. He burned the Buffaloes on a vertical route, finding the hole between the cornerback and the safety in a blown coverage and retaining possession through a hit that forced his chin strap over his mouth. Guys who raise their games in the most important moments are incredibly valuable to their teams and earn the undying loyalty of their fanbases. It’s why Patriots and Lakers fans won’t hear a word against receiver Julian Edelman or former guard Derek Fisher — those guys don’t have the numbers to qualify as all-timers, but they both have a track record of coming through in the biggest moments. Expectations were high entering this season, and Pittman has certainly delivered. His 10-reception, 232-yard and two-touchdown game against a tough Utah secondary was one of the best receiving performances in USC history, which is not a statement to be taken lightly. Aidan Berg is a junior writing about sports. He is also an associate managing editor for Daily Trojan. His column, “Berg is the Word,” runs every Monday.
3 Jul 2014 England Golf Annual Report 2013 The England Golf Annual Report (Nov 2012 – Dec 2013) which reviews England Golf’s activities during this period. A copy of the Annual Report can be downloaded below.