Games in LA 'stirrup' Rivera's emotions

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- On Sunday, the Panthers (2-5) will make the trek out west to take on the 3-4 Rams in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 

It's a place that many Panthers players have never played in, but head coach Ron Rivera knows the stadium well. He played there as a linebacker at Cal and then again with the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately for Rivera, his most memorable moment isn't a pleasant experience. 

During Rivera's freshman year at Cal in 1980, the Golden Bears were visiting conference rival USC in just the seventh game of his college career. 

“We got smoked,” Rivera said.

His welcome to Southern California was a 60-7 demolition by running back Marcus Allen and an offensive line that featured multiple first round draft picks. Looking back on that game, it was the Trojans' horse, not the scoreboard that stood out the most.

“Every time they score, they run the horse around the track," Rivera said. "Early fourth quarter, they scored on us again and the horse locked up. They had to bring out this trough of water to cool this horse down."

He joked, saying that game that was the year the Golden Bears nearly killed the horse.

In the last 36 years, new wins and losses have added to the unforgettable stories that come out of a coliseum that has seen more than nine decades of football. On Sunday, the Panthers will get a chance to add another chapter to that storied stadium — one that would describe how a win against the Rams was part of the Panthers improbable 2016 comeback season.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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