As the door flew open on a camera tower high above the ground just outside Howard Jones Field, all eyes turned to a man inside screaming and waving his arms.
As he hurled to the ground, players winced in horror. Fullback Stanley Havili ran toward the door, but before he could get there, he received good news.
"He caught him," a woman yelled.
Will Ferrell is well-known supporter of USC.
With the man cradled in his arms, a masked superhero strolled into Howard Jones Field. Sure enough, "Captain Compete" turned out to be comedian Will Ferrell.
After speaking to the team for a couple of minutes, Captain Compete got another chance to save a life, when a man engulfed in flames emerged from behind the goalposts.
After the man was extinguished, Ferrell tried to help, launching a Gatorade cooler at the man ? not on the man.
"What a sense of timing that guy has," USC coach Pete Carroll said.
The Halloween gag had most of the Trojans fooled.
"It felt awful," Havili said. "My stomach just dropped."
Freshman defensive tackle Armond Armstead saw the man fall and thought tragedy struck.
"Seriously," he said, "I thought we just watched a dude die."
The prank lightened the mood after the team finalized its week of practice
"It was just a little something in the Halloween spirits," Carroll said. "I just thought we'd have a little fun."