UCLA blows out USC 3 straight

UCLA beat up on USC's unprepared-to-play Trojans in every way you can in romping to a third straight onesided win,38-20, in a Crosstown Rivalry that is becoming less so with each new USC coach.

Steve Sarkisian could not have been more right -- and on a night like this, the first-year USC coach didn't have many of those moments so better take them where you find them.

"First, we have to coach better," the man UCLA students were serenading as "Seven-win Sark" even before the Bruins' 38-20 beatdown dropped USC to 7-4 (6-3), knocking USC out of the Pac-12 South race and the Crosstown Rivalry for the third straight year in what really hasn't been much of a rivalry.

The first two USC coaches to lose like this -- Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron -- are no longer here. But Sark will be around for a while. How long exactly, well, not for many more of these.

And make up all the excuses you want but this Trojans team was outcoached, out-quicked, out-toughed, out-prepared, out-gameplanned, out-hit, out-hustled and pretty much outed as a pretender for the LA city title. And that's despite getting a 7-0 jump in this one on Anthony Sarao's Pick-Six to start the game.

Did that bother Brett Hundley or the rest of Jim Mora's Bruins? Not in the least. Like a USC team under Pete Carroll that gave up early leads to the likes of Iowa and Oklahoma in a couple of Orange Bowls, they knew they were better. And better prepared.

This USC team, when it came down to it, as much as they tried to say it was on them, really knew it wasn't. No matter what they said.

"Maybe the gameplan was a bit off," senior Randall Telfer said, "but we didn't execute." Nope, they got executed.

"A better gameplan," Cody Kessler said matter-of-factly as the reason for the Bruins' 461 yards on offense to USC's 276 -- with just 62 on the ground. "When you get to your first progression and there's a guy already in the backfield, it's hard."

When you get sacked six times for 41 yards, it's even harder And that doesn't count the hurries and the times Cody was flattened as he released the ball. Sark even talked about how USC has to figure out how to "develop our defensive line guys the way UCLA has."

Imagine that, a USC team with maybe the No. 1 pick overall in the NFL draft, D-lineman Leonard Williams, has to look at how UCLA has managed to go from a not-very-good pass rush early in the year to just beating up on USC's young offensive line that took a giant step backward in this game.

Probably not what you want to see in Game 11 against your archrival when you still had a chance to salvage the season.

It's a tough man's game. And UCLA had the tough men on the field -- including the sidelines. USC had the tentative ones. The confused folks. The people who think running it on fourth and two at the UCLA 5 to end the first quarter with nothing out of a drive that started on the Bruins' 30 with a chance to tie the game was an "aggressive" play.

And by an "aggressive" team that has been able to "power-run the football" all season, Sark said. Although it managed just 62 yards rushing on 33 tries -- a 1.9 average -- in this game. And the Trojans didn't even manage to hit their measly average on that Buck Allen run that gained nothing although he did manage exactly 100 yards total offense to keep his streak going for the 11th straight game.

Take the three and be happy that nothing worse happened after the previous three plays from the 13 left USC short with the only pass attempt good for eight yards. But no, USC aggressively went for it.

Talk about a place to start coaching better. Sark did say "I wish I'd made a better call . . . I thought the running play was going to work . . . we just got beat at the point of attack." And not just on that play.

It was the pattern of the game. UCLA got to where USC wanted to go before USC did and got there with an attitude. "They got Cody off his spots," Sark said of the quarterback's reads in the progressions in the passing game.

So how did that happen? What do the USC coaches have to do to "coach better," as Sark said they must.

Senior Gerald Bowman passed on answering. "I have no control on that. They have to figure that out."

As with every single USC player who talked after the game, Bowman said this was on him and his teammates. "We just have to execute better."

But the problem was, senior Hayes Pullard said, how the Bruins "played for one another . . . not saying that we didn't . . . but that's a great UCLA team . . . they're making this rivalry interesting."

Some might say the dominance in Mora's three years over three different USC coaches is making it less so, although a welcome reversal for UCLA fans after USC had won 12 of 13.

Seems like a very long time ago. Although as someone said after the game, Sarao's Pick-Six and that 7-0 USC lead seems like a very long time ago as well.

Try to put a positive spn on this one and you can't. You could get rid of a Kiffin. And an Orgeron and their excellent staff. But this is Year 1 for Sark & Co. They're not going anywhere. And if Game 11 is any indication, they're not getting any better.

And they're not getting any closer to figuring it out. They know it. You know it. The players know it. UCLA's players, coaches and fans know it.

Now what? Get ready for Notre Dame in a game of two 7-4 teams who haven't been able to get it going in the right direction when they had to.

Kessler made the best pitch for how to do that. "I'm going to play be playing for the seniors who stuck it out through the sanctions and everything else," he said. "We're not playing for ourselves but for Randall Telfer and Hayes Pullard and all those guys."

Because this is their last go-round.

The USC coaches, well, they'll be around long after Randall and Hayes & Co. are long gone. Not sure how that should make any of us feel.

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.


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