No. 10 USC blasts UCLA 50-0 in season finale
UCLA showed up at the Coliseum in unfamiliar all-white uniforms,
flouting tradition and radiating confidence for their annual
showdown with Southern California.
A few hours later, the Bruins probably wished they had packed
Matt Barkley passed for 423 yards and six touchdowns in his
possible Coliseum farewell, Robert Woods set the conference’s
single-season receptions record while catching 12 passes for 113
yards and two TDs, and No. 10 USC finished its resurgent season
with a 50-0 demolition of Pac-12 title game-bound UCLA on Saturday
Kevin Prince passed for 261 yards for the Bruins (6-6, 5-4
Pac-12), who had won three of four heading into the city
championship game. The Bruins changed up their look for a game
usually played in both clubs’ colored home uniforms, but the
Trojans left them with nothing but grass stains on the backs of
those slick new jerseys, posting the third-biggest blowout in
rivalry history and shutting out UCLA for just the second time in
USC won seven of its final eight games capped by this utter
obliteration of the Bruins, who will represent the division at
Oregon next week despite finishing two games behind the Trojans in
the South standings.
”Life still goes on. We still have the opportunity to do
something big in the Pac-12 championship,” said UCLA tailback
Derrick Coleman, who was stopped on fourth-and-goal at the USC 1 in
the first quarter. ”That was a shot to the gut for everybody. We
can’t take anything for granted. We’ve got to go out and take
After the game, the Trojans wore T-shirts proclaiming themselves
to be the South division champions. UCLA had no room to argue after
the postseason-banned Trojans still went out in style, jumping to a
29-point halftime lead before posting their largest victory in the
city championship game since 1930, the rivalry’s second year.
”Tonight they were clearly the superior team,” UCLA coach Rick
Neuheisel said. ”I don’t think that’s the case all the time. I
believe we can close the gap, and we will. We weren’t good enough
to play a marquee team like USC.”
Earlier this week, Neuheisel said he felt the Bruins had
”closed the gap more” with the Trojans, who won 10 games for the
eighth time in the past decade.
Mind the gap, UCLA.
”They took it very personally,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said of
his players. ”That’s a pretty strong statement to make. Did it
motivate them? I don’t know, but it was talked about a lot, and not
much by me. I think they felt disrespected.”
Despite the Bruins’ Pac-12 title game berth, Neuheisel’s job is
thought to be in jeopardy after his fourth inconsistent season.
Athletic director Dan Guerrero said Neuheisel will coach in
Friday’s title game, but the program will be evaluated after
Marqise Lee had 13 catches for 224 yards and two TDs during a
showcase of offensive brilliance by the Trojans (10-2, 7-2).
”We’ve worked hard for this, and I think we deserve to
celebrate this,” said Barkley, who surpassed Matt Leinart’s
single-season conference record for touchdown passes. ”We knew
(about the postseason ban) coming into this year, and there’s
nothing we can do about it. We just tried to take advantage of
every opportunity we did have.”
With the Coliseum crowd repeatedly chanting ”One more year!”
Barkley was brilliant in what might have been the junior’s final
game at USC. He went 35 for 42 and set a Pac-12 record with his
39th touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, hitting Woods from
41 yards out to surpass Leinart’s mark. Barkley also surpassed his
own school record set earlier this year with 35 completions.
Barkley and left tackle Matt Kalil are near-certain first-round
NFL draft picks, but they claim they haven’t decided whether to
return for their senior seasons and a shot at a national title with
a team that’s likely to be among the nation’s most talented next
year despite severe NCAA scholarship restrictions that start in
2012. Barkley again declined to speculate on his decision, saying
he’ll figure it out soon.
”Unless he wants to do it, just to be a special Trojan, he
ain’t coming back,” Kiffin said. ”He’s every bit ready to go to
the NFL. It’s just going to be a decision, does he want to do
something really unique? He might be the guy to do that.”
Woods broke Keyshawn Johnson’s 1995 record with his 103rd catch
during the first half, while Lee joined Woods as a 1,000-yard
receiver. Rhett Ellison and Randall Telfer also caught TD passes
from Barkley, who had 29 scoring passes and just four interceptions
in his last eight games.
Curtis McNeal added a 73-yard TD run as USC beat UCLA for the
12th time in the last 13 meetings.
Kiffin had no mercy on his rival while claiming the Victory
Bell. USC went for a 2-point conversion after its third touchdown,
and Barkley attempted 50-yard passes in his first two plays after
halftime, hitting Lee for a 52-yard score with the second throw to
take a 36-0 lead. Kiffin and Neuheisel still shared a warm postgame
The Bruins failed to score on three drives inside the USC 25 in
the first half, with Prince throwing an end-zone interception to
T.J. McDonald. USC’s defense preserved its first shutout since Nov.
1, 2008, by stopping the Bruins on fourth down at the 7 with 2:48
USC hadn’t shut out UCLA since 2001, the only other time since