Defensive backs don’t last long — not in major college football, not in any kind of football — unless they have exceedingly short memories.
So Leon McQuay III could not spend more than a moment or two kicking himself over the nearly certain interception he had just let slip through his hands.
With 38 seconds remaining in the 2017 Rose Bowl, his USC team tied with Penn State, the strong safety had to fix his attention on the next play.
Lining up in a cover-2 defense, McQuay saw the cornerback on his side of the field jump the receiver’s route, so he moved to provide coverage over the top. As the pass sailed toward the sideline, he tried...