UCLA game thoughts

It was a typical USC vs UCLA rivalry game as the Bruins gave the top ranked Trojans all they could handle before eventually falling by a score of 29-24. The victory completes a 12-0 regular season for USC and they will advance to the BCS championship game in Miami on January 4th.

First quarter

Wow, that didn't take long. On the second play of the game Reggie Bush goes on an amazing touchdown run. He's unbelievable. What a fantastic burst of speed he showed to get into the secondary and then he got a terrific downfield block from Dwayne Jarrett. After that all Reggie had to do was put a final move on Matt Clark and he was in the end zone. So much for the slow starts that SC fans have become accustomed to……UCLA gets a long kickoff return and the first play is a screen pass to Marcedes Lewis which Matt Grootegoed sniffs out for no gain. Did you really think you were going to fool Groots on the opening play?....A punt had the Trojans pinned deep but Leinart quickly got them out with a throw to Dwayne Jarrett along the sideline for some breathing room. Matt hit Dwayne for another nice gain as Jarrett used his height against Clark in true Mike Williams-like fashion…..Nice to see LenDale running so well early. With all the attention paid to Bush this year it would be great to see LenDale become a 1,000 yard rusher…..Ryan Killeen confidently steps up and hits a 37 yard field goal to make it 10-0 after the drive began on the Trojan 2 yard line….Mike Patterson shows his quickness with a tackle for loss on Olson. Cody bats a ball down at the line and USC forces their 2nd straight 3 and out on the Bruin offense….Frostee Rucker has a sack and the Trojan defensive line is dominating at this point….UCLA fakes a punt deep in their territory and it works. That was their first 1st down of the game and it came at the end of the first quarter….

Second quarter

Patterson is absolutely killing the Bruin center as he gets a tackle for loss on Manuel White….After starting with 10 straight completions Leinart finally missed a pass. Matt hasn't thrown for much yardage though as most of the passes have been short, underneath routes…..Here goes one of those crazy plays in the USC vs UCLA rivalry. The Trojans have been dominant so far and Tom Malone hits a booming punt that Craig Bragg fields inside his five yard line but then he goes 96 yards for the touchdown. That was the first return for a touchdown against the Trojans this year…..Uh oh, the Bruins just blocked a Malone punt and got the ball with great field position. All of a sudden USC can't do much on offense or special teams…..It's the corner blitz to the rescue as Eric Wright gets a sack on the first play. Wright then has good coverage on a 3rd down pass attempt in the end zone to force a short field goal which Medlock missed. That could be a crucial point in the game, they had a real opportunity to tie things up and gain some momentum…..The first play after the missed kick is a 13 yard completion to Bush but Jeff Byers gets called for an illegal block. Not to worry though, Bush takes the handoff on the next play and goes 81 yards for the score. Dan Fouts compares Reggie to Gale Sayers and he's not going to get too many arguments…..The Trojan defensive line continues to step up on the first couple plays of the Bruin drive but on 3rd down they hit a pass to Tab Perry and then a couple plays later they hit Bragg for a long gain which sets up a field goal to make it 17-10…..Way to go Desmond. They kick to Desmond Reed and he takes it back past the 50 in part thanks to a huge block from Bush….Oooh, the Trojans got a break when the officials ruled that Reggie didn't fumble the ball along the sidelines, it looks like the UCLA defender had a chance for a nice return but the refs blew the ball dead…..Good job Killeen, Ryan nails another field goal at the end of the second quarter to make it 20-10….Big hit by Thomas Williams on the final kickoff before halftime, after so many big returns on special teams in the first half it was good to see a typical Williams hit….

Third quarter

Things start pretty slow in the third, the Trojan passing offense just seems a bit out of synch at this point with a few too many dropped passes. Leinart is having an efficient game but he hasn't had the big play he probably needs to solidify the Heisman……Jason Mitchell with a great diving catch along the sideline. For a guy who wasn't missed when he sat out fall camp Jason sure has come on in the last part of the season when the team needed him. That catch leads to yet another Killeen field goal for a 23-10 lead. Ryan Killeen is rapidly becoming the key to this game. That makes five straight field goals for Ryan after he made two in the Notre Dame win last week…..This is officially a ballgame, Manuel White just went in for a short touchdown and the Bruins make it a 23-17 game. It was one of the few times they gained any yardage on the ground today as the SC defense has completely shut down their run game….Another sack on Leinart as Byers gets beat, they have put a lot of pressure on Matt today…..

Fourth quarter

At least UCLA showed up this year ready to play. Last season was noticeable in this rivalry in that the game was over before it ever started……Another field goal for Killeen. That's four on the day and none were bigger than that as it makes it a 26-17 lead…..Shaun Cody gets his ninth sack of the year, he leads the team in that department. Shaun always seems to play well against the Bruins…..That could be the backbreaker as Lofa Tatupu just picked an Olson pass in UCLA territory, that was the third interception of the season for Lofa…..The Trojan offense wasn't able to punch the ball in the end zone as the Bruin defense came up with yet another solid stop but Killeen is able to kick his fifth of the day. That's a school record for Ryan and he joins a long list of kickers from Frank Jordan to David Bell who will be remembered as Bruin killers…..Time is running out on UCLA with the score 29-17 and things look bleak after Lofa makes a big tackle on White on the 3rd down play with less than 2:30 left. Lofa sure is playing well for a guy who wasn't even sure he would play today. On 4th down they hit Marcedes Lewis (why don't they throw him the ball more?) for a score and that brings them within a touchdown at 29-24. This is real, this game is clearly not following the pattern of usual second half Trojan blowouts and we've got a serious chance to lose this game if something freaky happens here at the end…..That a boy Matt Cassel. That might have been as big of a play as Matt has made with his recovery of the onside kick attempt…..Things never go smoothly in this rivalry. All we need to do is run out the clock but it's a fumble by Reggie deep in UCLA territory. They've got a long way to go against this SC defense though….Game over, Olson was just picked by Jason Leach although Jason fumbled at the end of the play with the recovery by Kevin Arbet….Leinart takes a knee and the 12-0 regular season is complete. Congratulations Trojans, we're heading to Miami…….


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