For the first time since 2006, UCLA has beat the Trojans, outplaying and outclassing them in a way that has severe implications about what the nature of this rivalry will be going forward.
The ship was all but sunk when Barkley connected with Lee for a 40-yard gain on third down, finally making a play that the Trojans desperately needed from him. Curtis McNeal followed that up with a 15-yard gain, and Barkley capped the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Marqise Lee. The Trojans had no choice but to go for two to bring it within three points, and Lane Kiffin sprinted down the field to call a timeout to fix something he didn’t like before the Trojans snapped the ball again. The decision paid off when Barkley closed in on a narrow window, hitting Robert Woods in coverage and resuscitating the Trojans once again.
The Bruins’ next drive would be critical for them to win, and that notion was not lost on them at all. Hundley had tons of time and no pressure to throw, hitting wide open receivers in the secondary with ease. Johnathan Franklin would stab USC in the heart though, sprinting untouched the 29 yards to the endzone.
The Trojans got the ball back but made nothing of it on their final drive in Pasadena. Barkley went down hard on his shoulder and was replaced by Max Wittek. Andre Heidari missed a field goal but UCLA called a time out, and on the re-kick, it was blocked by Bruin Sheldon Price.
UCLA would go on to win it 38-28 on the Trojans, and it was lights out for the Trojans, for Lane and Monte Kiffin’s job security, and for the “Unfinished Business” season that proved to be all hype and zero prep.
Everything that could go wrong for SC did go wrong, despite Curtis McNeal rushing for 153 yards and Barkley passing for 308 yards.
But it was too little too late for the Trojans, and all of the credit goes to Coach Mora and his Bruins. They believed they could beat SC, and they played like it. Hundley went 22 for 30 for 234 yards and one touchdown, with big performances from Shaq Evans and Joseph Fauria, who had 114 and 61 yards, respectively.
When Rick Neuheisel took over as the head coach at UCLA, he declared the football monopoly in LA to be over. For a decade, USC showed the Bruins just how wrong that assessment was.
Jim Mora came in as head coach and said nothing, and in one season has moved past go, has collected $200 and has built hotels on USC’s Boardwalk.
It will be exciting going forward to see how long they stand.