Pasadena, CA – Who runs LA? That was the question we heard all season long and we finally got our answer!
USC took down crosstown rival UCLA 48-45 in an instant classic at the legendary Rose Bowl Stadium.
Those in attendance watched the sparks fly in this high scoring affair. The energy in the arena was like no other and both teams gave there all till the clock showed double zeros.
The Bruins jumped out to an early 7-0 lead after quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s one yard touchdown run. The Trojans squandered multiple early opportunities to put points on the board and a Caleb Williams interception led to another UCLA touchdown to make it 14-0. It was the first time USC has trailed by 14 points at any moment in a game this season.
But the Trojans didn’t flinch and scored 10 unanswered points to not let the game get away early.
“I actually told the guys we are capable of being down. The team we are playing is a good team,” said USC head coach Lincoln Riley. “You can’t write the script first and for our guys to respond like that. Shows the closeness and togetherness of this team.”
It was a nail-bitter going into halftime as the Bruins held onto a 21-20 lead.
Caleb Williams and the Trojans high-powered offense came out blazing in the second half. It started with Williams’ 35-yard touchdown pass to star wide receiver Jordan Addison.
“Glad to have him back,” said a very ecstatic Williams on the play of the reining Biletnikoff award winner. “After he scored I told him ‘welcome back’”.
Williams finished the game with over 500 yards of offense and three touchdowns. Throwing 470 yards with 178 of those yards going to Addison.
The Trojans, who went with senior Austin Jones in the place of injured running back Travis Dye, scored his second touchdown of the game in the 3rd quarter to give USC a 34-24 lead. Jones finished the game with 120 rushing yards and 4 receptions for 57 yards.
Southern Cal led 34-31 going into the 4th and though the offense played an amazing game. It was the defense that saved the day.
The Trojans defense got the game winning stop when linebacker Korey Foreman picked off UCLA’s quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson with a minute and 26 seconds remaining in the 4th.
USC’s defense caused four Thompson-Robinson turnovers ( three interceptions and one fumble) which helped the visiting team hold on for the big victory.
Linebacker Shane Lee knew it would be a challenge but understood how prepared the defense had to be for this challenge. “We just focused in on the things we know we needed to do and we can’t skip over it and that’s why we came out with the win today.” said Lee.
USC now switches its focus over to another rival, Notre Dame, who visits the Coliseum next week. It’s another must win game if the Trojans hope to secure a College Football Playoff spot.