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USC vs. UCLA: Trojans in-game report

November 28, 2009 |  7:02 pm


Well, the USC-UCLA football rivalry just got a lot more interesting.

Who says you can't teach an old coach new tricks.

Even poor sportsmanship tricks.

With USC up by two touchdowns and less than a minute to play, UCLA called timeout even though the Trojans had the ball and the Bruins had no chance for a comeback.

Probably Rick Neuheisel's way of teaching his team to compete until the clock runs out.

USC Coach Pete Carroll and play-caller Jeremy Bates then responded by teaching their team that it's OK to run up a score when you're winning but not when you're losing.

On the next play, quarterback Matt Barkley faked a handoff into the middle of the line and threw a 48-yard bomb to Damian Williams for a piling-it-on touchdown.

Jim Harbaugh would be so proud.

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USC 21, UCLA 7 (1:30, fourth quarter)

Shades of Ohio State. USC found its offense at a very opportune time.

After UCLA pulled within a touchdown, the Trojans drove 73 yards in nine plays, with Allen Bradford charging in from two yards out for the touchdown.

It was USC's first score tonight that wasn't off a turnover.

Bradford, playing in place of an injured Joe McKnight (knee) carried five times for 30 yards on the drive.

But who got the sideline hug from Pete Carroll as the offense came off? Quarterback Matt Barkley, of course.

Barkley threw a terrible pass on USC's first play, but then settled down to complete his next four passes -- to three different receivers.

USC 14, UCLA 7 (5:41, fourth quarter)

UCLA is still bumbling, stumbling and fumbling (a lot), but the Bruins have found the end zone on a two-yard run by Chane Moline.

The Bruins' scoring drive covered 65 yards in 13 plays, fumbling twice but recovering both times. UCLA has four turnovers, which have led to all of USC's points.

After a slow start, Moline is find some room against the Trojans defense. He ran three times and caught three passes on UCLA's scoring drive.

USC 14, UCLA 0 (early fourth quarter)

The breaks -- as well as some UCLA passes -- just keep coming USC's way.

Josh Pinkard just came up with his second turnover, picking off a Kevin Craft pass at the USC 20.

The interception came on the next play after USC benefitted from an early official's whistle.

Craft had tossed what was ruled a lateral to UCLA tailback Jonathan Franklin, who scooped up the ball and bolted down field for a long gain.

One problem for UCLA: An official mistakenly whistled the play dead after Franklin had gained only about five yards.

UCLA was given the option of a "do-over," and took it.


USC has intercepted three passes. Pinkard has a pick and forced a fumble.

USC 14, UCLA 0 (7:01 third quarter)

Another turnover for the USC defense, another Trojans touchdown.

Allen Bradford scored on a one-yard run over left tackle, capping a 29-yard scoring drive set up by a Will Harris interception.

USC has come up with three turnovers. The first was an itnerception returned 62 yards for a touchdown by Malcolm Smith.

After Harris' pick, took seven plays to score. Bradford, subbing for Joe McKnight, who limped off the field, got the ball in the last four -- three runs and a pass reception.

On the scoring play, he followed fullback Stanley Havili into the end zone.

USC 7, UCLA 0 (halftime)

USC is in typical form in one category: The Trojans have been penalized eight times for 66 yards in the first half.

Oh, in one other: USC is one for six in third-down conversions.

And still the Trojans lead, 7-0, thanks to a 62-yard interception return by Malcolm Smith.

Smith, whose older brother, Steve, starred at wide receiver for USC (and now the NFL's New York Giants), has had a great first half. He and fellow linebacker Chris Galippo have been very active.

Active. Not a word you would describe for USC's offense.

The Trojans have run 16 times for 45 yards, an average of 2.8 yards a carry.

Quarterback Matt Barkley has completed nine of 14 passes for 95 yards, but had a pass intercepted inside the UCLA 10 yard line -- his 11th pick of the season, compared to 11 touchdowns.

Anthony McCoy has three receptions for 61 yards, and Joe McKnight has rushed for 28 yards in nine carries.

The most exciting USC performance on offense: Damian Williams, playing on a gimpy ankle, has 46 yards on two punt returns.

USC 7, UCLA 0 (25 seconds before the half)

USC Coach Pete Carroll has taken some criticism of late, but the Trojans' coach didn't start this season with the best winning percentage of any active coach for nothing.

UCLA had a nice drive going and Kevin Prince had just completed yet another pass to Nelson Rosario deep in USC territory.

But before UCLA could run another play, Carroll called timeout, appealing to field officials that Josh Pinkard had successfully stripped Rosario of the ball before the receiver was down on the ground.

And he was right. Replays showed a fumble, the on-field call was overruled, and USC took over at its own 31.

USC 7, UCLA 0 (midway through second quarter)

Matt Barkley, after Ohio State: incredibly composed freshman.

Barkley, after consecutive wins over Washington State, California and Notre Dame: could he be a Heisman Trophy candidate?

Barkley the last three games: someday he might be pretty good.

The freshman from Santa Ana Mater Dei has had yet another pass intercepted -- his sixth in a little more than 11 quarters.

Barkley tried to force a ball into double coverage, looking for Damian Williams inside the UCLA 10 yardline.

Instead, his pass hit Bruins cornerback Alterraun Verner right in the chest. Safety Rahim Moore was also in the area for UCLA.

So far, the only time USC looks exciting on offense is when Williams is returning punts.

Fortunately for the Trojans, UCLA's offense isn't doing anything either.

USC 7, UCLA 0 (6:31, first quarter)

The Trojans continue to struggle on offense, but UCLA just made the game's first big mistake.

UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince was looking for tight end Ryan Moya on a slant pattern, but USC middle linebacker Malcolm Smith stepped into route, easily intercepted the pass, and ran 62 yards untouched for a touchdown.

USC 0, UCLA 0 (early in first quarter)

A good sign for USC fans: Damian Williams was back as the punt returner to field UCLA's first kick.

That means Williams' injured ankle must be feeling much better. The Trojans had planned to use Joe McKnight to return punts.

If USC's first possession is any indication, McKnight will be busy enough. He had three carries for 14 yards and also had two passes  thrown in his direction.

--Mike Hiserman


About 13 minutes until kickoff here at the Coliseum on a cool and breezy evening.

The USC sideline is full of recuits, including Jackson Jeffcoat, a defensive end from Texas.

UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow waved to the crowd as he made his way up the tunnel after warmups.

-- Gary Klein