2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 13, UCLA at USC
Pac-12 Fearless Predictions &
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Nov. 26 at USC 50 … UCLA 0
CFN Analysis: Matt Barkley completed 35-of-42 passes for 423 yards and six scores. How is he not the First Team All-Pac 12 quarterback, and why isn't he in the Heisman chase instead of Andrew Luck? … Marquise Lee caught 13 passes for 224 yards and two scores and Robert Woods caught 12 balls for 113 yards and two scores. UCLA's defense wasn't even close. … This was the Trojans' big statement. Right now, few teams in America are playing better. … The Trojans got much, MUCH better as the season has gone on. They earned the right to be called Pac-12 champs.
Could UCLA have played this game without much fire knowing that the main goal of playing for the Pac-12 title was accomplished? Maybe a little bit, but it's still USC and it's still a rivalry game that matters. It was such a blasting that Rick Neuheisel will still be in trouble unless he pulls off the stunner against Oregon. … Kevin Prince moved the passing game completing 21-of-33 passes for 261 yards and a pick, but too many drives stalled and the O couldn't keep up the pace. … Nelson Rosario had a nice game with seven catches for 118 yards, but his game was dwarfed by the big performances by the USC receivers. … It might have been an ugly loss, but UCLA gets to take its cuts at Oregon for the Pac-12 title. One big win and nothing else matters.
(AP) LOS ANGELES -- 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 Southern California finished its resurgent season with a 50-0 demolition of Pac-12 title game-bound UCLA on Saturday night.
Marqise Lee had 13 catches for 224 yards and two TDs during a showcase of offensive brilliance by the Trojans (10-2, 7-2), who are banned from postseason play under heavy NCAA sanctions. USC still went out in style, jumping to a 29-point halftime lead before posting its largest victory in the city championship game since 1930, the rivalry's second year.
USC won seven of its final eight games capped by this utter obliteration of the crosstown Bruins (6-6, 5-4), who will represent the division at Oregon next week despite finishing two games behind USC in the South standings.
Kevin Prince passed for 261 yards for UCLA, which had won three of four heading into the city championship game. The Bruins flouted rivalry tradition and unveiled an all-white look in 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.
Earlier this week, UCLA coach Rick 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. Despite the Bruins' Pac-12 title game berth, Neuheisel's job is thought to be in jeopardy after his fourth inconsistent season.
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 Matt 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.
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.
Trojans coach Lane 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 handshake.
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 to play.
USC hadn't shut out UCLA since 2001, the only other time since 1947.
After Kiffin hugged each of his seniors at the mouth of the Coliseum tunnel, the Trojans' offense needed just four plays to assert its superiority. After Woods made two early catches, Lee slipped unguarded down the middle for a 42-yard TD reception just 1:45 in.
Barkley drove the Trojans 92 yards early in the second quarter, throwing a 1-yard TD pass to Telfer -- and the Trojans rubbed it in with a 2-point conversion pass to Xavier Grimble out of special teams coordinator John Baxter's unorthodox formation. USC then gathered on its sideline, leaping and jumping in unison with the same ebullience that nearly set off a brawl in this game at the Coliseum two years ago.
UCLA stopped the Trojans at the 3 on their next drive in the second quarter, but the Trojans faked a field goal and simply snapped it to Barkley, who hung in the pocket until finding Ellison with another TD pass. The Bruins reached the USC 24 late in the half, but mismanaged the clock and ran out of time.
UCLA (6-5) at USC (9-2) Nov. 26, 10:00, FSN
Here's The Deal … UCLA is in the Pac-12 South hunt, but USC is not. Strange days in Los Angeles.
Although the Trojans are the premier team in the division, NCAA violations have made them ineligible to vie for the crown for one more year. However, the absence of a postseason carrot hasn't prevented Troy from bringing out the stick over the past month. At 9-2, USC is one of the nation's hottest squads, capping a three-game winning streak with a signature upset of Oregon in Eugene last Saturday. The program is close to clawing all the way back to its pre-infractions days under Lane Kiffin, setting the table for what could be a breakthrough 2012.
If UCLA can beat its chief rival for the first time in five years, it'll represent the South Division in next week's inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game. It can get in with a loss as well, but would need Utah to lose to Colorado on Friday. The Bruins have been an inconsistent bunch throughout this fall, looking like world-beaters in the Rose Bowl, including last week against the Buffs, yet flopping on the road. Beating his crosstown rival might be perennial hot seat occupant Rick Neuheisel's last chance of saving his job.
Why UCLA Might Win: The Bruins have played their best ball when travel is limited, so it helps that the Coliseum is just across town.
When this team has succeeded, it's been able to run the ball with authority, and control the tempo of the game. UCLA can be downright punishing on offense, especially now that Kevin Prince has settled in as the quarterback. A finally-healthy Prince has provided dual-threat qualities by channeling his inner Jake Locker. A powerful inside runner, he's coming off his first four-touchdown passing game of his career.
The Bruins are also loaded at running back, deftly mixing in Derrick Coleman with leading rusher Johnathan Franklin. The offense is finally at a point where it can control the tempo of the game, while dumping off safe passes to WR Nelson Rosario and TE Joseph Fauria.
Why USC Might Win: The UCLA defense is coming off its best game of the year. Too bad USC isn't Colorado.
The Trojans are clicking around Matt Barkley, one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country. The Bruins lack the pass rush or the cover corners to manage a passing attack that's accounted for 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. In Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, No. 7 has access to one of the most dangerous young receiving corps in the country. Even freshmen tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble have gotten into the act lately, combining on eight touchdown receptions in their first year on campus.
Up front, Matt Kalil and the rest of an O-line that's yielded just seven sacks will afford Barkley all of the time that he needs to survey the field, and locate an open man.
What To Watch Out For: Although it doesn't always show in the numbers, the USC defense has come a long way in Monte Kiffin's second stint as the coordinator. The pass defense can be a little spotty, but the Trojans are No. 16 nationally against the run, which will present problems for the UCLA ground game. Blending a mix of youth and seasoning on the front seven, the Trojans are getting off the ball fast, and into the backfield even faster. A workmanlike Bruins front wall is going to have trouble with the speed and get-off of linemen Nick Perry and DaJohn Harris, and rookie linebackers Dion Bailey and Hayes Pullard.
What Will Happen: UCLA has more riding on this game than USC … or does it?
This finale is a very big deal for USC, which desperately wants to win a 10th game for the first time in three years, while maintaining its dominance of UCLA. For the Trojans, who won't be bowling, it's basically the first game of 2012. They'll finish strong, getting another banner effort from Barkley, whose future will become a hot topic as soon as the final ticks come off the clock. He'll throw for 300 yards and a couple of scores, feeding backs Curtis McNeal and Marc Tyler in an effort keep the defense off balance. The Bruins will move the ball on the ground early, but aren't built to survive on offense, when they're attempting to erase a deficit.
CFN Prediction: USC 37 … UCLA 17
Click For Latest Line From ATS: UCLA -14.5 O/U: 58.5
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