Next day, game day. Connor's on his cell phone at Applebee's (the sign out front this week: "TROUNCE THE TIGERS"), chattering away to the home office. Tyra wanders up and he breaks the news that he has to get back to L.A. the next morning. She manages to look not too disappointed, especially when he says he still wants to go out with her that night. She agrees, and they both go back to their respective jobs. And we can get back to the actual show.
Taylor lets Matt into his office and starts by saying he's given a great week of practice. Matt thanks him and launches into a humble interview speech, like he's talking to ESPN again. But Taylor doesn't want to hear this from Matt any more than he wanted to hear the opposite from Voodoo, so he just rips off the Band-Aid: "I'm gonna start Voodoo." Matt sits there looking crushed for a minute, as Taylor tells him to be prepared. He finally gets up and exits the office, thanking Taylor for letting him know. Taylor feels like ass. Now that's a decision I can get behind.
Pep rally montage! In the packed high school gym, the cheerleaders do a routine to a marching band version of "Rock & Roll Part II." The team enters in their white away-game jerseys. Taylor gives a little speech, promising, "The fourth quarter is ours." Voodoo glowers, while Matt sits and looks like someone ran over his dog and then fed it to him. Taylor points to Smash, who takes the floor and goes into a little marching-band-backed rap about how the Panthers are going to win. And I'm not even going to call stereotype on this one, because Smash is absolutely the worst rapper I've ever heard in my entire life. Outside, the team boards the bus and Taylor kisses Tami goodbye. The scene cuts back and forth between the controlled chaos of the pep rally and the team buses making their way through town like a presidential motorcade, complete with cheering crowds on the sidewalk and a police escort. If there's a Secret Service detail whose job it to make sure nobody takes a shot at Taylor, we don't get to meet them this episode.
The sound of the cheering spills over into the next scene, where we find Jason, back in bed, gazing up at the little memory wall above him. Lyla comes in wearing her cheerleader uniform, all flirty and asking how he's feeling. She gives him a peck on the lips, and he asks what she's doing there. "You're going to be late for the game," he says. Lyla just nods and says Jason has a visitor. It's Taylor, bearing a Panthers football helmet. Jason can't take hold of it yet, but he's able to reach out one hand and sort of rake his knuckles gratefully over the curved surface. It's heartbreaking. Jason's so sweet. I'd be like, "Oh, protective gear. Thanks. Just what I needed THREE WEEKS AGO, FUCKER!" Taylor sets the helmet on Jason's lap and heads out, but stops when Jason tells him, "God bless you, Coach." "Clear eyes, full hearts," Taylor says. "Can't lose," Jason responds. That's totally this show's "Live long and prosper." After Taylor's gone, the whole team and coaching staff starts filing in, Smash first. "What up, Street?" he asks. Jason looks at the ceiling to tip the tears back in and asks with bravado, "What's up, fellas?" Smash says they're going to win tonight for Jason. One by one, everyone passes by Jason's bed, clasping his arm or shoulder with an encouraging word. Except Voodoo, who just stands by the door with a blank expression. He could have stayed in the bus if he was going to act like that. Jason laughs to see poor, nervous Matt, and tells him to play well. Matt doesn't bother burdening Jason with the news that he doesn't expect to play at all tonight.