USC 28, UCLA 14 (final)
UCLA finished a touchdown better than it had in its previous two games against USC, losing 28-14 on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl, instead of 28-7.
All because the USC defense, just as it did in losses to Washington, Stanford and Notre Dame, gave up a long touchdown drive in the last few minutes of a game.
UCLA drove 77 yards in 11 plays, with Richard Brehaut connecting with Joseph Fauria on a 10-yard scoring pass with 23 seconds left as the Bruins tacked on a score.
Way too little, way too late on a night that belonged to USC tailback Allen Bradford.
Bradford, a senior who started the season No. 1 on the Trojans' depth chart but slipped in and out of Coach Lane Kiffin's plans, ran for 212 yards and a touchdown in 28 carries and also scored on a 47-yard swing pass.
USC outgained UCLA, 474 yards to 358, as hobbed quarterback Matt Barkley completed 15 of 26 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Brehaut completed 20 of 35 passes for 230 yards for UCLA, and Johnathan Franklin ran for 109 yards in 13 carries, though only five of his yards came in the second half.
USC finished 8-5 in Kiffin's first season. UCLA finished 4-8.
RELATED: USC vs. UCLA photos
USC 28, UCLA 7 (late in fourth quarter)
USC Coach Lane Kiffin had been keeping Allen Bradford on the bench in recent games, he said, because the Trojans senior was having trouble holding onto the ball.
No such problems Saturday night at the Rose Bowl -- but UCLA defenders are having plenty of difficulty holding onto Bradford.
Tonight's attendance at the Rose Bowl was just announced as 71,105 -- the smallest USC-UCLA rivalry crowd since 1971, when 62,108 watched at the Coliseum.
USC 21, UCLA 7 (early fourth quarter)
Allen Bradford has had some huge games for USC -- and two this season when he never even carried the ball.
Put this one in the huge category.
Bradford just took a swing pass from Matt Barkley and turned it into a 47-yard scoring play. He also has 131 yards rushing.
Barkley, who has played the entire game despite his mobility being limited by a sprained ankle, showed great touch on the play. Bruins freshman defensive lineman Owanagbe Odighizuwa was pressuring Barkley quickly, with Akeem Ayers right behind him, but Barkley lofted the ball just over their outstretched arms and Bradford hauled it in full stride.
USC started the drive on its own three-yard line.
USC 14, UCLA 7 (late in third quarter)
The level of play isn't getting any sharper as the game wears on.
USC and UCLA exchanged turnovers on three consecutive possessions early in the third quarter: a Nickell Robey interception of a poorly thrown Richard Brehaut pass intended for Randall Carroll; a Tony Dye interception of a poorly timed Matt Barkley pass intended for Ronald Johnson; and an ill-advised pitch by Brehaut that was fumbled by Anthony Barr and recovered by USC's Malcolm Smith.
You could say this game is being played as advertised -- a matchup of going-nowhere teams -- and UCLA definitely looks like a 4-7 team.
It's just that USC looks more like its 5-7 instead of 7-5.
And now a fourth turnover in the quarter -- an Aaron Hester pick of a Barkley pass.
Maybe these teams should try a few straight handoffs.
USC 14, UCLA 7 (halftime)
In a relatively even first half, the one mistake -- made by UCLA -- cost the Bruins.
A 68-yard fumble return by USC's Malcolm Smith is the difference. Smith's play came near the end of the first half after a fumble by UCLA's Johnathan Franklin.
Otherwise, Franklin was the star of the first half. He rushed for a game-high 104 yards in 12 carries, including 59-yard run for UCLA's touchdown. This is the fifth game this season he has surpassed 100 yards rushing.
USC has a 207-184 edge in total offense, but the Trojans wasted their most impressive drive of the half -- a march from their own five-yard line that lasted nearly 8 1/2 minutes -- because of a holding penalty that took away a touchdown, then a botched fake field-goal play.
Matt Barkley, whose mobility is obviously limited by a sprained ankle, has played the entire first half for USC, completing seven of 13 passes for 100 yards. Allen Bradford leads the Trojans in rushing with 70 yards in 15 carries.
Richard Brehaut has completed only three of 11 passes for UCLA.
USC 14, UCLA 7 (2:31 remaining in second quarter)
Johnathan Franklin's running has given UCLA a spark in the first half, but his fumble just resulted in a USC touchdown.
Franklin coughed up the ball just before hitting the ground -- UCLA challenged the call on the field, saying his knee was down but the replay official didn't overrule the initial call -- and USC linebacker Malcolm Smith picked it up and rambled 68 yards for a touchdown.
Franklin has 101 yards rushing.
USC 7, UCLA 7 (midway through second quarter)
USC just drove from its own five-yard line as far as the end zone, and got nothing for it.
The Trojans lost a touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Matt Barkley to Robert Woods because of a holding penalty on center Kristofer O'Dowd.
The pass came on a third-and-nine play, but after it got wiped off, USC looked like it was still in position for a field goal.
But the Trojans came away with nothing when they tried a fake and Mitch Mustain's pass fell incomplete.
Not Mustain's fault. USC looked completely unorganized on the play and he had to throw it away or get sacked.
USC 7, UCLA 7 (end of first quarter)
After a quarter, USC has a 136-100 edge in total yardage, but the Bruins are narrowing the gap after a slow start.
All but nine of UCLA's yards have come on runs, with Johnathan Franklin leading the way with 78 yards in six carries. Quarterback Richard Brehaut is one-for-eight passing.
Matt Barkley has completed six of 12 passes for 84 yards and Allen Bradford has run for 43 yards in eight carries.
USC 7, UCLA 7 (3:47 left in first quarter)
UCLA had minus-one yard in first six plays, gained six yards on its seventh play -- and 59 more for a touchdown on its eighth play.
The last was a dynamite run down the right sideline by Johnathan Franklin.
USC 7, UCLA 0 (late first quarter)
Freshman Dillon Baxter just accounted for the second USC touchdown of his career.
This time he passed for the score.
Baxter found tight end Rhett Ellison wide open in the end zone to complete a six-play, 67-yard scoring drive.
USC has 133 yards and seven first downs on its first two possessions.
UCLA has minus-one yard on its first two possessions.
Matt Barkley has completed five of nine passes for 85 yards, and Allen Bradford has 39 yards in seven carries.
UCLA 0, USC 0 (midway first quarter)
First big play of the game:
On fourth-and-one from the UCLA 21, USC's Marc Tyler was swarmed under for a one-yard loss after being hit first by the Bruins' Akeem Ayers.
Some odd play-calling by USC Coach Lane Kiffin, who twice called fade route passes on third-and-short.
The first time, Robert Woods made a diving catch of a Matt Barkley pass for a 23-yard gain. But on third-and-one from the UCLA 21, Barkley tried for Ronald Johnson on a similar play and the pass fell incomplete.
UCLA's offense has run six plays and gained just a couple of yards.
USC has four first downs.
First major question of the game answered:
Matt Barkley is USC's starting quarterback.
UCLA went three and out on its first possession, and after USC took over Barkley misfired on passes on the Trojans' first two plays, then hooked up with Ronald Johnson for 11 yards and a first down.
Two plays later, Barkley converted on third down again, hooking up with Robert Woods, who made a diving catch for a 23-yard gain.
Allen Bradford started at tailback for USC, his first start since the Trojans played California on Oct. 16.
The 80th football game in the USC-UCLA rivalry is minutes from kickoff and this much is already clear:
The game will be played in a not-even-close-to-being-sold-out Rose Bowl.
This game has been played before crowds of more than 80,000 since 2000, but maybe not this year.
Attendance was 80,227 in 2000, but this one looks closer to the 62,108 in 1971 or the 57,580 in 1961.
We'll hope that nothing more than good natured barbs are hurdled in the stands and nothing more than tough hits during tackles are made during the game.
There has already been a melee in a parking lot here about three hours ago. Police said some 50-75 people were invovled in a brawl that resulted in two people being stabbed, one in the upper part of his back and another in his cheek.
Three arrests were made -- all males in their 20s -- and the suspects have been booked on attempted murder charges.
Photo: UCLA defenders try to keep USC tailback Allen Bradford out of the end zone in the first quarter Saturday night. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times