We know how easy it is to get carried away by the USC-UCLA rivalry and what happens on the field in this series. But it's not always like that. And it surely was not like that immediately after the final horn Saturday
It was nothing but smiles and handshakes and hugs and old home week for players and coaches from both teams without a hint of the chippiness or even bitterness this series at times has become known for as they met in the center of the field.
This was genuine. You couldn't fake those handshakes and hugs.
There was injured UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, seeking out USC players for congratulations and having Trojans track him down to wish him well. There were trainers and team docs doing the same.
But as much fun as anything was watching the dozen Serra guys -- nine from USC, three from UCLA -- making sure everyone was there and lined up for the alumni team picture in blue and gold and cardinal and gold.
Or the half-dozen Long Beach Poly guys led by Iman Marshall and JuJu Smith-Schuster doing their own photo with Jayon Brown and Randall Goforth just a few feet away.
And we'll admit, it's not always like this. But this year it was. Everybody knows somebody on the other sideline and it showed despite a backdrop of fans with rhyming words describing the other school still ringing in their ears.
These guys weren't having any of it.
BY THE NUMBERS
*** 35/22: In UCLA's previous In UCLA's previous six losses, the Bruins had lost by a total of 35 points, an average of less than six per loss, before an average of 22 before falling by 22 to the Trojans.
*** 21-1: That's the first down advantage for USC in the second and third quarters where the UCLA offense simply disappeared.
*** 71,137: Almost a modern record low crowd for this series but it was beat out by the 2010 game played here at the Rose Bowl -- also with a 7:30 start -- that drew just 71,105.
*** 7 straight: USC's longest win streak since 2008-2009 when the Trojans won 12 in a row. That it's happened after a 1-3 start makes it even more amazing.
*** 4 of 18: That's how many times the Trojans have let the Victory Bell out of their possession in the last 18 years.
*** 1/2: Rasheem Green followed last week's field goal block at Washington with another this week against UCLA.
*** 18-121: Ronald Jones' 121 yards in 18 carries [a 6.7 average] give him three triple-digit games in his last four and a total of 608 yards the last four games with Justin Davis limited or missing.
*** 48-31-7: That's the real record in this series dating back to 1929 with the NCAA trying to take away two wins from the Trojans in 2004 and 2005, the only USC series so affected by the Reggie Bush decision. But as you know, we don't go there. Those phony so-and-so's can do whatever they want. We refuse to go there.
*** 25-36, 267, 2, 2, 1: Big game but just another day at the office again for Sam Darnold, whose 25 for 36 passing for 267 yards with two TDs, two INTs and one sack is just pretty much expected and about the same as last week against Washington.
*** 0: That's how many knee braces Stevie Tu’ikolavatu will be wearing next week for the Notre Dame game. He said the one he's been wearing for his sprained ACL the last two weeks restricted his mobility despite playing two good games. He says he could have made more tackles without it and he'll get the chance this week.
THEY SAID IT
CLAY HELTON: On key to the win: "What stood out to me was that it was a big man's game. We have come into the last couple of weeks saying you know, run the ball, stop the run, and you look up and you hold UCLA to 55 yards rushing compared to 260 yards rushing offensively. I thought that was the key to the game."
UCLA COACH JIM MORA: On his team's offensive issues: "Well, they [USC] are a good defense, first of all. We'll give them credit where credit is due . . . We just could not get into a rhythm . . . When you can't get them off the field on defense, it is tough, it is frustrating but that's the story of the last three quarters of the game."
USC OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TEE MARTIN: On Sam Darnold's interceptions: "We want him to be aggressive. I don't want to take that away from him [and even if he tried] I don't think I could. And I don't want to. I like that about him."
USC'S ZACH BANNER: On how O-line coach Neil Callaway does what he does: "No compliments, just hard work."
USC'S ADOREE' JACKSON : On his injury, apparently a turned ankle: "I'm good. They just took me out. But I appreciate your asking. I'm cool."
Not too bad. Adoree' Jackson looks like he may have turned an ankle although he wasn't saying other than that he didn't have to come out . . . JuJu Smith-Schuster had a hip flexor but he certainly was able to to keep coming back into the game . . . Nico Falah dislocated a finger and Chad Wheeler had a wrist they were checking out . . . and while not playing, Josh Fatu was out of his boot for a sprained ankle and walking well.
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