The rain started pouring in the third quarter, and weird things started happening.
The Bruins started the second half with the ball but on their first drive they fumbled it, jumped on it and then the ball popped out and somehow bounced all the way to the endzone where USC DL George Uko fell on it for a USC touchdown. In seconds, USC had cut it to four points in the most comical of fashions.
K Andre Heidari would miss the extra point that would have put the Trojans down only a field goal, but either way, that touchdown was exactly what the Trojans wanted to further chip away at UCLA.
Brett Hundley got the Bruin offense settled and moved the ball a bit, but the Bruins were forced to punt again after Hundley got forced to the ground for the fourth time, this time by S T.J. McDonald on 3rd and 9.
USC went three and out on their next possession, with Barkley once again forcing everything to Marqise Lee and not fooling the Bruins, and P Kyle Negrete’s punt was blocked to give the Bruins excellent field position. This was Negrete’s first blocked punt of his career. The Bruins responded with a 25-yard bomb to Shaq Evans, right over the head of LB Dion Bailey. Hundley ran it in himself to send UCLA up 31-20 over USC.
In baffling fashion, USC elected to pass again on all three of its next downs, and came up with nothing. Eight play calls in a row were passes, and only one of them was completed. At no point even after Barkley scrambled to get it within two yards of the first down, did Kiffin opt to run the ball at all. To their luck, the Trojan defense sacked Hundley for the fifth time today forcing the Bruins to punt it right back to USC.
USC just kept right on throwing the ball, and with the pass protection the Trojans were starting to get, it finally proved a good decision when Marqise Lee caught a ball over the middle for 22 yards. Later, Robert Woods made an incredible catch under duress to keep the Trojans drive alive. But then Randall Telfer got flagged for offensive pass interference, backing SC up 15 yards that they struggled to gain in the first place. Immediately after that, the Trojans got a holding penalty, to bring it to 2nd and 32. The Trojans eventually got it back to the initial line of scrimmage and were forced to kick a field goal from 44 yards out, but Heidari’s kick was no good.
The Trojans got a three-and-out after swarming Hundley with pressure, something the defense needed to do to instill confidence back into this squad. The momentum was back in the Bruins’ favor, with the Trojans playing and looking deflated once again. Robert Woods tried to run the punt back, but instead got pinned within the five yard line, exactly where USC did not want to start an effort to put more points on the board.
There is still time for the Trojans to pull this one out–an entire quarter, to be exact–but time surely is running out.