Photo Galleries: USC vs UCLA

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USC reclaimed the Victory Bell, city bragging rights and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship game with a convincing victory over crosstown rival UCLA on Saturday. John McGillen, with guest photographers Rachel Bennett and Ryan Kang, was on hand in the Coliseum to capture the best of the big victory. 

6-Points: USC 40, UCLA 21

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The Trojans are Pac-12 South champions, advancing to play Stanford next Saturday for a spot in the Rose Bowl.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the Rapid Reaction.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

Signature Drive

All season long, USC has preached one word over and over again, "FINISH." With the ball and the lead, the Trojans buried the Bruins on an 11-play touchdown drive, burning away 6:46 of the fourth quarter, by running the ball 10 consecutive times before QB Cody Kessler capped it with a pass to TE Taylor McNamara for the game-sealing six. Helton did not dare call a pass as the offensive line exhorted him to stick with the power run. "It might've been a mutiny," joked Helton. "We'll just keep on running power until they stop it." RB Justin Davis carried the load on the drive, finishing the game with 130 yards on 25 carries. "We just played physical and blasted them away every play until they stopped coming," said the junior tailback. "It was beautiful."

IMG_8026.JPGEvery Rosen Has Its Thorns

UCLA freshman QB Josh Rosen got off to a good start until the Trojans turned up the heat late in the second quarter and harassed him into the game-changing mistakes. He had been sacked a league-low 11 times coming into the contest, but USC took him down three times and forced a strip-sack scoop-and-score as well as two interceptions. "Once the defensive line started getting more pressure on him, we felt like we could get more aggressive in coverage," said OLB Su'a Cravens. "It turned into a couple interceptions." Helton praised his defense for following the game plan to perfection. "We really felt going into the game that we had to get the quarterback off his spot," he said. "Great effort by our defense, I can't commend them enough."

Scoring from Everywhere

The Trojans scored on offense, defense and special teams in a complete performance. "I am the biggest fan of non-offensive touchdowns maybe in the history of college football," said Helton with a big smile. "Those are game-changing plays." Down 14-13, Adoree' Jackson gave the Trojans the halftime lead by returning a punt 42 yards for a touchdown. Helton called Jackson "one of the more special players of my entire coaching career." Down 21-20, Rasheem Green gave USC the lead for good, picking up Claude Pelon's forced fumble and running it in from 31 yards out.

Biggie Class

On a night when Green became the sixth member of this freshmen class to score a touchdown and RB Ronald Jones II set the school's freshman rushing record for a single season, freshman CB Iman "Biggie" Marshall stole the show with a pair of interceptions. Coming off maybe his worst game this year at Oregon, he bounced back with undoubtedly his best performance. "I needed some type of failure to go back in the lab and ponder on what my mistakes were and see what I needed to work on," said Marshall. "That's what I did this week in practice and then I came out ready." Helton knows that Marshall earned this moment thanks to his work ethic. "I give him credit. He works daily to perfect his craft and get better," he said about the freshman corner. "We told him, 'Just keep playing. Your work is going to show up.' And man, it showed up today."

Leaving a Legacy

On the other end of the spectrum, the 2015 senior class will go out as champions. For Kessler and the other veterans, this signature win was a long time coming. "Our seniors are very special people and Cody is right in there with them," said Helton. "They have kind of taken us out of the darkness here and brought us into the light." Kessler finished 15/26 for 175 yards and 2 TDs plus a rushing touchdown. RB Tre Madden (47 all-purpose yards), P Kris Albarado (40.1 yards per punt), PK Alex Wood (two made field goals) and DE Claude Pelon (strip-sack) were among the Senior Day heroes.

Pac-12 Championship

The Trojans are not done yet. USC will square off with Stanford, the Pac-12 North winners, on Saturday at 4:45 or 5 p.m. at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. Click here for ticket info. The Cardinal defeated USC, 41-31, way back in September, but this is a different Trojan team. "They really don't know what they've got coming, but we know Stanford has been playing great ball too," said Davis about the rematch. "We just have to bring what we did today to the table for the next game." Helton's game plan will be very different than Steve Sarkisian's as he is focused on trying "to out-rush our opponent and not turn the ball over. That's going to be the formula going up there." USC held the ball for a Stanford-esque 40:01 to UCLA's 19:59 today.

Here are the highlights:

Pac-12 Championship Tickets

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Tickets are now available for USC fans to attend the Pac-12 Football Championship Game against Stanford next Saturday, December 5 in Santa Clara at Levi's Stadium. The game will be played at either 4:45 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. PT on either ESPN or ABC.

Click here for more information on how to buy tickets for the Pac-12 Football Championship Game.


2015 Game 12: USC vs. UCLA

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No. 22 UCLA Bruins (8-3, 5-3) at USC Trojans (7-4, 5-3)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 12:30 p.m. PT on ABC or ESPN2 (coverage map) and WatchESPN

Rosen.jpgBruin to Watch: Freshman QB Josh Rosen

After a hot start to the season, the star-studded neophyte was dubbed "Chosen Rosen" and put on Heisman lists. While he has not quite matched the initial hype, he has enjoyed a solid true freshman campaign, throwing for 283.9 yards per game with 19 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. He has actually gone 218 throws without a pick. While Rosen is not as elusive or powerful as Brett Hundley, he is still a capable runner, including 70 yards on 5 carries against Washington State.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn)

Click here for more on the Bruins.

3 Keys

Act Your Age

When he has time to throw, Rosen looks like an elite NFL prospect, blessed with a tremendous amount of arm talent. However, under pressure and off his spot, he can suddenly resemble a true freshman, especially in the losses to Arizona State and Stanford (44/82 and 3 INTs). The USC defense must regain its aggressive mentality, which disappeared in the first half against Oregon. If the Trojans can get in the backfield to chop down Paul Perkins, the conference's fourth leading rusher, and harass Rosen, they will find much more success than they did against Brett Hundley, whose mobility was the key to UCLA's three-game winning streak in the crosstown rivalry.

Kessler's Time

Against Cody Kessler, the UCLA defense has found success by taking away his favorite target. In 2013, the Bruins held Marqise Lee to 6 catches for 69 yards. Last year, Nelson Agholor managed only 3 catches for 24 yards. This time around, all Bruin eyes, at least in the secondary, will be on JuJu Smith-Schuster. So, can Kessler beat UCLA by spreading the ball around to all his targets? The Trojans will certainly need someone (or several someones) to step up as unsung heroes and etch their names into the great history of this rivalry.

Leave a Legacy

As if the game needed another storyline, USC's seniors will also be playing their final game in the Coliseum. Thanks to their perseverance, the Trojans are in position to depart as champions. USC handled its business all season long in the Pac-12 South, defeating ASU, Arizona, Utah and Colorado, but it will take a clean sweep to win the division and advance to the Pac-12 Championship for the first time in school history. The difference between winning and losing this game will characterize the whole season and how this senior class will be remembered.


Leave a Legacy

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The 2015 USC football seniors have persevered through more than they ever could have imagined on Signing Day, but they are in position to finish their college careers as champions. As the veteran Trojans get set to enter the Coliseum in uniform for the final time, they know that they can walk out with a Pac-12 South title by beating UCLA.


Pac-12 Preview: USC vs. UCLA

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Here is the preview of the Pac-12 South championship game by the Pac-12 Network crew including USC's Curtis Conway:

No Shocker

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USC men's basketball is off to a 5-0 start after defeating No. 20 Wichita State, 72-69, in the quarterfinals of the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando. While the Shockers are one of the best programs in the country, the victory was not an upset as the talented Trojans controlled the action despite 23 turnovers.

Click here for the recap.

Freshman Bennie Boatwright was the hero, scoring a career-high 22 points, including five made three-pointers. The Trojans advanced in the winner's bracket to play another Top 25 team, Xavier, today at 11:30 a.m. PT on ESPNU and TuneIn.

Here are the highlights from USC's first win over a ranked team since 2013:

UCLA Thursday: Notes

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The Trojans held a brief Thanksgiving Day practice in front of family and friends on Thursday morning before dispersing to coaches' and teammates' homes for turkey dinner. But just because it's a holiday doesn't mean USC is taking a break in preparing for its Pac-12 South Championship game on Saturday. The team is fired up and ready to go for the 85th installment of the most famous crosstown rivalry in college football. 

Here is interim head coach Clay Helton in his final address to the media before Saturday's game...

Happy Thanksgiving!

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UCLA Wednesday: Notes

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On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Trojans are solely focused on feasting on the Bruins.
  • While most of the injury news has been positive this week, USC will likely be without S Leon McQuay III and LB Osa Masina on Saturday, per interim head coach Clay Helton, although neither has been ruled out. PK Alex Wood is still in concussion protocol, so Matt Boermeester could again be called on if the senior is not cleared by the doctors.
  • cody-uclaquotepic.jpgOG Viane Talamaivao, RB Tre Madden and S Marvell Tell III remain on track to return from injury this Saturday.
  • At inside linebacker, USC will primarily use a three-man rotation of Anthony Sarao, Olajuwon Tucker and Michael Hutchings with Uchenna Nwosu still learning the position.
  • The Trojans will need all hands on deck to slow down the Bruins after a disappointing defensive showing against Oregon. "Obviously when you don't play like you expect to or the way you feel like you're capable of, it's disappointing and frustrating. The key is that you own it and you don't just turn the page immediately," said defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. "Every single person in the room, the coaches, every position group and every player...because no one did a good enough job for us to win the game. As a competitor, you want to come back out and get another chance."
  • C Khaliel Rodgers is playing through injuries to both shoulders as he prepares to face perhaps the best defensive tackles in the Pac-12 in UCLA junior Kenny Clark. "He's one of those guys you really have to game plan for," Helton praised Clark. "It's going to take all of us, every different scheme that we've got, to be able to contain him."
  • USC's nose tackle is already emotional about Senior Day. "It's heartbreaking," said Antwaun Woods. "The Coliseum is a great place, especially growing up in LA and watching USC. I mean I'm a fan too. Man, it comes so fast. But I just have to make sure I'm remembered in my last game."
  • It promises to be a heated contest, so the Trojans are wary of succumbing to their emotion. "We can't let the rivalry get over our heads and hurt ourselves," Woods said. "We need to play disciplined football and execute. It's really not about just the rivalry. It's about fixing our errors and focusing on us to win the game."
  • While Saturday is the final home game for the seniors, it could also be Su'a Cravens last chance to run out of the tunnel in uniform. The junior is projected to be a first round draft pick if he declares, and Helton compared him to Seahawks star Kam Chancellor. "He's my hero," Helton said about Cravens.
  • WR coach Tee Martin was nominated for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach. "Tee is invaluable," said Helton about Martin. "Tee is the definition of a complete football coach in my opinion. [He is a] leader, teacher, educator, recruiter, establishes relationships. If there is a blueprint of what to be, Tee Martin is it."
  • Here is Helton after Wednesday's practice: