USC vs. UCLA: Bruins bring Trojans momentum to a grinding halt


Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In perhaps one of their most complete performances of the season, the No. 22 UCLA Bruins dismantled the streaking No. 23 USC Trojans, 35-14.

The win is the Bruins first at the Coliseum since 1997, and it is their largest margin of victory over the Trojans since 1970.

Prior to the game, several Trojans and Bruins were involved in an altercation with tempers flaring, and that emotion carried into the game.

Already with an offensive line that’s been patched together due to injuries, the Bruins lost starter Caleb Benenoch in the first quarter, who was ejected for throwing a punch.

If the Trojan coaching staff was removed from the sideline, those watching would have believed Lane Kiffin was still the head coach.

The Trojans were flat, routinely failed to execute, and were focused too much on the emotional aspect of the rivalry.

After losing starting center Marcus Martin and starting left guard Aundrey Walker to injury, it was the Trojans offensive line that suddenly became the big vulnerability.

For stretches of time, running lanes were opened up for Javorius Allen and Ty Isaac, but the pass protection struggled.

Unlike the game against No. 8 Stanford, Cody Kessler failed to develop any sort of rhythm, and his pass attempts reflected it.  He finished the game 17 of 28 for 174 yards and one touchdown.

On the surface, Kessler’s stats don’t tell the story of how much of a struggle the evening was for him.  On numerous occasions Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor had to bail Kessler out with acrobatic catches.

As a result, the Bruins jumped out to a 14-0 lead and the game quickly began to resemble the 2012 result.

Not helping the struggling Trojans offense was their defense’s inability to to provide any sort of resistance.  The Bruins were one week removed from allowing nine sacks, but you wouldn’t have known it.

Brett Hundley went 18 for 27 and 208 passing yards.  For good measure, Hundley carried the ball 13 times, racking up 80 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Outside of a few snaps, the Bruins offense was able to get what it wanted, when it wanted.

The Trojans managed to only sack Hundley twice, compared to Kessler getting sacked six times.  The Bruins were also able to win the turnover battle, coming up with three while not losing one.

Whether it was due to fatigue or other factors, the Trojans were outplayed in every facet of the game.

It didn’t matter that the Trojans were the team riding a five game winning streak and playing for interim Coach Ed Orgeron.  They weren’t prepared at the time of the first snap and weren’t able to catch up.

With all the do-good Orgeron has done at USC, his two losses have come to the school’s two biggest rivals.

For the second year in a row, the Trojans finish their regular season with a bad taste in their mouths, here’s to hoping this season’s bowl game doesn’t fall in line with 2012’s.