No more discussion about bitter taste

Focus at USC shifts Tuesday from talking about loss to Bruins a year ago to beating them on Saturday...

After the Trojans 47-29 win on Saturday at Colorado, USC players had plenty to say about their desire to beat UCLA in the Coliseum this weekend.

The Trojans fell 38-28 to the Bruins a year ago at the Rose Bowl.

Redshirt junior Dion Bailey was perhaps the most outspoken about his desire to get back at his crosstown rival, "This is a game we've been carrying with us for 365 days," Bailey said, noting that UCLA's loss to Arizona State on Saturday -- which put both UCLA and USC out of the running for the Pac-12 South title -- makes this matchup "that much more personal."

USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron echoed his players' sentiment on his Sunday teleconference with reporters, saying that the loss to the Bruins a season ago left a "terrible taste" in USC's mouth.

The Trojans are 9-3, 6-2 in the Pac-12 for second place, and ranked No. 23 in the latest AP Poll going into Saturday's regular season finale.

The Bruins are 8-3, 5-3 in the Pac-12 for third place, and ranked No. 22 in the poll.

On Tuesday, USC players still had plenty to say about the Bruins, but it seemed to be less about the bitter taste of defeat and more about their desire to beat their crosstown rival.

"This [rivalry] is very important," said Marqise Lee after practice. "My freshman year we had a great win, last year they had a great win. In my book, we're 50/50, so we have to break that tie."

Quarterback Cody Kessler will be playing in his first career game against the Bruins on Saturday. He's watched both a win and a loss in his previous two seasons at Troy.

"We know there's a little more meaning behind this game," Kessler said, "When you come to USC that's the first thing you think of, playing UCLA."

USC has beat UCLA all but twice in their meetings dating back to 1999.

"I love the rivalry," Orgeron said Tuesday. "We've been in some great battles, it's always good to win. You never want to be on the other side, it's something you have to live with and we totally understand that."

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