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POSTGAME THREAD: Finally, some hope

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There are games where the final score doesn't tell the story. And there are games where it does.

This is one of those games that did both.

The Cougs were down 20-0 at the end of the first quarter. The game ended 27-6 thanks to a defense that came up with big play after big play -- including TWICE stopping USC on fourth and goal -- despite an offense that struggled for most of the game.

But it's those six points that will have us all talking all week long.

Many will wonder how it's possible to feel so good after a three touchdown loss. They don't know where we've been.

This team showed some serious heart and fight. And it served as the official coming out party of Jeff Tuel, Gino Simone and Travis Long, all of whom showed that they're not just playing out of necessity -- they're playing because they are Pac-10 level players right now.

Don't be ashamed to smile after this one. After wondering whether this team really was heading in the right direction, the answer is absolutely yes.