The moment was two years in the making, but those paying close attention at USC’s practice would know it’d been foreshadowed days earlier.
For Korey Foreman, his sophomore season had been anything but smooth to that point. Hoping for a fresh start after a frustrating freshman year, the former five-star prospect instead played only a bit part on a defense in desperate need of pass rushers.
Last week, ahead of playing UCLA, Foreman dropped into coverage during practice and pulled down an interception. After the play, safety Bryson Shaw approached him with a message.
“Let’s get it in the game now,” Shaw told him.
Fast-forward to Saturday, with Foreman looking up at the clock in the fourth quarter Saturday, UCLA driving while down by three to USC, with 1:32 left to play.
“I just knew at that moment, a play had to be made,” Foreman said. “I was just telling myself, let’s do it right here, right now.”
He dropped into coverage, watching UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson as he moved from one read to another. UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet was covered. Thompson-Robinson hadn’t taken off running. So Foreman floated back toward the middle of the field, where UCLA’s quarterback was looking toward receiver Kazmeir Allen.
Foreman jumped the route. He pulled down the game-winning interception, the biggest play of his career. Soon after, he sought out Shaw.
“Korey didn’t forget about it,” Shaw recalled. “He came up to me in the locker room and said, ‘I told you. I told you.’”
All season, coaches had told Foreman to be patient, to focus on improving one week at a time. Finally, the approach paid off.
“He’s worked hard behind the scenes, and [he’s] a great example of ‘don’t worry about any outside expectations or what other people think, it doesn’t matter.’ You just keep working to improve and good things happen.”
Here are three more takeaways from USC’s 48-45 rivalry win over UCLA: