Ed Oregeron had turn the USC Trojans around after the firing of Lane Kiffin, and they were coming into their match up against UCLA with a lot of confidence. UCLA looked like one of the better teams in the nation early on, but they slipped in the rankings coming off of a couple of losses.
Nonetheless, this game pinned two top 25 teams against each other, and the PAC 12 was set for a big game.
Things didn’t work out that way, as the first 11 minutes of the game were a snooze-fest. Neither team got anything going on the offensive side of the football early on, and you can chalk that up to defense if you want, but it was just bad football. Myles Jack was able to run in a three yard touchdown with four minutes left in the first quarter, and UCLA wouldn’t look back after that.
The Bruins jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter after a Eddie Vanderdoes run from the one yard-line. UCLA looked to be in control of this one early on. Like they have all season, USC answered when it mattered most, and scored on an 11 yard run by Javorius Allen, and the score was 14-7 heading into the half.
Coming out of the half, UCLA would score with nine minutes to go in the quarter on an Brett Hundley run from 12 yards out. Neither offense was spectacular, but USC was able to score on a 22 yard pass by Cody Kessler to Xavier Grimble three minutes later, and the score was 21-14. It looked like we were in for a close game, but things would start to play out differently from there. The Bruins scored again in the third when Brett Hundley ran in the second of his two touchdowns to take a 28-14 lead heading into the final period.
USC just couldn’t score, or get anything going on offense, and both defenses looked good in the fourth. There was absolutely zero scoring for 12 minutes of the fourth until UCLA was able to get another rushing touchdown with three minutes remaining, and they now had a commanding 35-14 lead, and it seems that Orgeron and the Trojans’ magical run was coming to an end.
Neither offense was dominant in this one, as UCLA out-gained USC 396-314 in terms of yards, but the Bruins were able to score the football. UCLA ran for 188 yards, and they got all five of their touchdowns on the ground. Brett Hundley was the leading rusher for UCLA with 80 yards on 13 carries.
Overall the game was close in all the statistical categories, but USC had two turnovers as opposed to UCLA’s clean slate. That seemed to be the difference in this one, as well as UCLA’s ability to pressure Cody Kessler all night long. They also recovered a fumble deep in their own territory, and USC couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.
This is just the third win over USC in 15 years for the Bruins, and Jim Mora Jr. has yet to lose to them. The questions regarding Orgeron’s future will now come into full focus, and this loss may have hurt his chances. Ending the regular season on a sour note could make it easier for Pat Haden to move in a different direction. UCLA finishes 9-3, and USC ends up 8-4 on the season. This was probably the final home game for receiver Marqise Lee, and his draft stock has plummeted this season.
UCLA wins the battle of LA, 35-14.