USC dominates UCLA in Battle for Los Angeles, shut out Bruins 50-0


USC: 50. UCLA: 0. The end. Nothing more needs to be said about this game because the score speaks for itself.

Of course though, I am going to talk about it anyway and relive that beat down to end all beat downs.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I wanted to accomplish a few things. I wanted to get to campus and tailgate with my friends (shout out to members of my Twitter fam who came all the way from the East Coast for this game! You guys are great) for at least four hours. I wanted to eat hot dogs and barbeque, and drink mixed beverages (which I can legally do!) with members of the Trojan family. I wanted to heckle Bruin fans and remind them that they were in enemy territory. Most of all, I wanted to make the short walk across the street, kick THE pole for luck, stroll past the Rose Garden, enter the gates of the Coliseum through the student section, and walk through Tunnel 24 down into the stadium to watch my Trojans beat the Bruins for the last time in my undergraduate career at USC.

I could not have asked this USC team to put on a better show for my senior sendoff.

There was never a question of whether USC would win this game, but MAN did they make a statement anyway. Vegas had USC as 15-point favorites over the Bruins, and if you have half a brain and are a gambler, it would have been stupid not to take these odds. The Trojans put up 50 unanswered points on their “rivals” the Bruins, an unprecedented show of dominance between the two schools. USC hadn’t completely shut out their rivals in a decade, and they did so on Saturday in style.

Matt Barkley’s stat line at the end of what was possibly his last night in the Coliseum was unbelievable, passing for 423 yards and six touchdowns. En route to these numbers Barkley also passed Matt Leinart’s single-season conference record (38, set in 2003) for touchdown passes, with 39.

He wasn’t the only Trojan to break a record Saturday night, either.

Robert Woods—who started the season off hotter than Rick Nueheisel’s face when asked about his job security, but kind of tapered off as the season progressed due to injuries—also set the Pac-12’s single-season receptions record of 111, passing Keyshawn Johnson’s record of 102, set in 1995. Woods caught 12 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

USC came out the gate ready to make UCLA Coach Rick Nueheisel eat his words when he said that the Bruins had “closed the gap more” between to two schools. To show him how blasphemous of statement that was, the Trojans hit the Bruins with a 42-yard bomb from Marquis Lee for a tub, bringing the score 7-0 within the first two minutes of play. The Bruins did almost strike back immediately after as USC’s defense got off to a shaky start—the usual—but the Wall of Troy refused to break on fourth down and the Trojans held the Bruins scoreless. On SC’s next possession, Curtis McNeal broke off a 73-yard touchdown run in all of like, 20 seconds, extending USC’s lead by two possessions.

This would be USC’s only rushing TD for the night.

In the second quarter, USC just kept on rolling. Barkley hit tight end Randall Telfer from a yard out for another touchdown—after Telfer had a terrific run earlier in the drive—and the Trojans capped that drive with a successful (HOLY CRAP!) two-point conversion play when Barkely connected with tight end Xavier Grimble in the back of the endzone. Six minutes later, Barkley again found Rhett Ellison from three yards out in the endzone, to bring the score to 29-0 with more time to play before the half.

Hey Nueheisel—you were saying WHAT about the gap being closed? Please.

After the half, USC decided that no, they were not done embarrassing the future Pac-12 South “champions”, and that no, they would not show the Bruins any kind of mercy. Barkley again heaved a 52-yard beauty to Marquis Lee on the second play of USC’s first drive in the second half. The scoreboard now read 36-0, and those of us in the student section could not believe the game we were seeing.

To call it a game would be giving UCLA too much credit. It was a massacre of mythological proportions.

Next, Robert Woods snagged himself a 4-yard touchdown pass later in the third quarter, and it was when the score now said 43-0 that I thought Lane Kiffin and crew might let up on the Bruins.

Oh, how wrong I was.

In the first minutes of the 4th, Barkley hit Woods for the last time from 41-yards out and Woods ran it in for the touchdown.

For essentially 15 entire minutes Coach Nueheisel, his team, and Bruin fans had to look up at the bright, shining scoreboard that showed just how much the gap between USC and UCLA has closed, and just how much the monopoly in Los Angeles is over.

As we all know, USC cannot play in the Pac-12 title because Commish Larry Scott said so, so UCLA with a 6-6 record will be facing the Oregon Ducks in Autzen next weekend to represent the Pac-12 South.

To recap: UCLA, that is an entire 50-points worse than USC will be facing arguably the fastest and one of the most lethal offenses in the country, the same offense that USC completely stifled just three weeks ago. And will finish the season ranked 6-7. And will probably get shut out two weeks in a row, which just doesn’t even make any kind of sense.

But it does make sense that after the game, the USC team went into the locker room to find 2011 Pac-12 South Division Champion shirts in their lockers. Pat Haden, in another move of utmost swagginess, had the shirts made for the team and I have no doubt that Trojan Nation fully supports this notion.

After the game, a bunch of senior players like fullback Rhett Ellison, DT Christian Tupou and running back Marc Tyler, and also Matt Barkley and running back Curtis McNeal conducted the band with Tommy Trojan’s sword while the Spirit of Troy played collegiate football’s greatest battle cry, “Conquest!” After that, they played the song that every Trojan knows, and that thousands of fans stuck around to hear: “Tusk” aka “UCLA Sucks!”

Normally, I don’t stick around to hear the band play on the grounds of, “it’s not like I’m never gonna see the band perform again.” This time though, that actually was the case. Sure, I can always come back to USC games as an alum, and sure I will see the Spirit of Troy a few times during basketball season. But when I stood in the student section surrounded by my closest friends, looking down at the band right in front of us and looking up at the score that reflected the colossal beat down that I just witnessed, I took a moment to process that I will never again watch a USC football game as a student, and I will never again enter the Coliseum as one either.

In my three and a half years at USC, I have seen some pretty great games in the Coliseum—my first ever game was a USC team led by Pete Carroll and Marc Sanchez dismantling of Ohio State 35-3, after all.

I must say though, that watching USC completely obliterate the Bruins AND culminate the greatest comeback to greatness of all time was a perfect way to have the sun set on my student years at USC.

Fight On Forever.