Los Angeles was painted blue and gold after UCLA's 35-14 victory over USC Saturday night in the L.A. Coliseum. The Bruins hold on to the Victory Bell after ending the Trojans' five-game winning streak last season.
It's the first time UCLA has won in the Coliseum since 1997, per Trojans Athletics:
Final: UCLA 35, USC 14. The Bruins win in the Coliseum for the first time since 1997. Trojans fall to 9-4.— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) December 1, 2013
In addition to the ignominy of losing to its inner-city rival at home, USC may have to deal with finding a new head coach. Ed Orgeron has done a fine job since taking over for Lane Kiffin, but he has now lost to both Notre Dame and UCLA in the same season.
Bleacher Report's BCS Guru Samuel Chi thinks the Trojans should keep their options open:
If Orgeron is 6-0 against non-rivals and 0-2 against the 2 rivals, does that give you pause? USC should not settle.— BCS Guru (@BCSGuru) December 1, 2013
This was a disheartening defeat for USC after its win over Stanford and subsequent rise into the Top 25.
The Bruins were the far better team on the night, and most of it was because of that stingy defense. It held USC to 314 yards and forced the Trojans into two turnovers. The home side couldn't string any major drives together. When UCLA need to make a stop, it did. USC was only 6-of-14 on third downs, compared to 8-of-14 for the Bruins.
Not content to beat the Trojans on one side of the ball, some of UCLA's defenders decided to go on the offensive.
Two-way linebacker/running back Myles Jack got the first score of the game when he ran the ball in from three yards out. It's his seventh rushing touchdown in four games and helped give the Bruins an early 7-0 lead, per ESPN CollegeFootball:
Maybe Jim Mora's on to something with this whole two-way player thing.
He sent in defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes as a fullback when UCLA was at the goal line in the second quarter. The freshman pounded it in from a yard out to help double the Bruins' lead, 14-0:
The Trojans answered on their next drive. With a healthy dose of running back Javorius Allen, they went 80 yards in five minutes, 41 seconds to halve the deficit at 14-7. It was Allen scoring the touchdown when he punched it in from 11 yards out.
That's how the first half would end. The Bruins were in control for most of the two quarters and had earned their lead heading into the locker room.
If that weren't bad enough for USC, recent history has shown that the Trojans have a hard time overcoming halftime deficits, per NBCSports.com's Chris Huston:
USC hasn't won a game where it trailed at halftime since Nov. 18, 2006, vs. California.— Chris Huston (@HeismanPundit) December 1, 2013
They didn't help themselves with an opening drive that went nowhere.
UCLA's lead swelled to 21-7 after Brett Hundley scampered 12 yards on a designed run. It was a strong response from the Bruins offense and killed whatever momentum USC had going following that touchdown in the second quarter.
The Trojans made things interesting again after they cut the lead back to seven, 21-14, following a 22-yard touchdown pass from Cody Kessler to Xavier Grimble.
Whatever energy the USC defense had left evaporated after Hundley got his second rushing touchdown of the night to help put UCLA ahead 28-14 with 3:18 to go in the quarter.
With the NCAA-imposed scholarship reductions, USC has been forced to rely on a lot of the same guys defensively. That lack of depth means few opportunities for rest for the starters, which comes into play late in the game. You could see a lot of the Trojans players were simply out of gas, and they were powerless to stop the UCLA offense, per CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman:
The Bruins added another TD with 3:50 left in the game, courtesy of an eight-yard rush from running back Paul Perkins.
Key Player Grades
Brett Hundley, UCLA: A
As the game went on, Hundley stamped his authority more and more.
His running ability wreaked havoc on the USC defense. It would've been hard enough for the Trojans to stop UCLA's air attack. With Hundley moving the ball with designed runs, there was nothing USC could do.
Hundley had 208 yards passing and 80 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
All in all, it was a complete performance from the sophomore quarterback.
Anthony Barr, UCLA: A-
Once again, it was a stellar performance from Anthony Barr. The entire UCLA defense played well, but it was Barr who often found himself in the pocket harassing Kessler.
There's a reason this guy is so high on many experts' draft boards. It seemed like it was every play that Barr was getting the first step on his man and using his great physical tools to get free on the edge.
Cody Kessler, USC: C+
Kessler was simply overmatched in this game. He was under constant pressure and unable to find any of his receivers downfield. The Trojans could only settle for short passes over the middle and quick outs to the sidelines.
The sophomore signal-caller finished 17-of-28 for 174 yards and one touchdown.
The only thing left for both schools is to figure out where they'll be bowling. Neither could qualify for the Pac-12 Championship Game, so they'll have to wait for all the dominoes to fall before they know their futures.
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