The Trojans defense led the way in USC's 24-7 victory over their crosstown rival UCLA Bruins on Saturday. With the win, USC clinched at least a share of it's unprecedented sixth straight Pac-10 title.
"There is nothing we like more than winning championships. I know everybody talks about all the rest of the stuff but we don't have control of that other stuff," said Pete Carroll. "What we do have control of is this Pac-10 and every chance we get we want to win this thing and get ourselves in that Rose Bowl and own that Rose Bowl."
USC's defense was dominant all game holding the Bruins to 168 total yards and allowed just 12 yards rushing. The USC defense has given up just 28 rushing yards in the last two games.
After the game USC Head Coach Pete Carroll had very high praise for his defensive unit.
"Yeah, this is the defense that is playing the best. They really are. It is a defense with a lot of guys that can stand out," Carroll said. "This is a terrific defense and that is not to take anything away from Lofa (Tatuou) and Groots (Matt Grootegoed) and all those guys that played that great D for us back a few years ago. Those guys were awesome."
USC's seniors really stepped up in their last game at the Coliseum. Senior linebackers Thomas Williams and Keith Rivers each forced a fumble. Keith Rivers and Sedrick Ellis recovered fumbles and Terrell Thomas had an interception.
One of the most impressive stats of the game was USC's defense didn't allow the Bruins to convert a single third down the entire afternoon. UCLA was a dismal 0-11 on third down.
The Trojans are now headed to the play in the Rose Bowl for the fourth time in five years.
"We are blessed to have that opportunity and just really deeply proud about that," said Carroll of USC Rose Bowl birth.
Rose Bowl Bound
The Trojans came into this season with visions of playing for the National Championship in New Orleans. But after a season filled with unexpected challenges the Trojans are happy to be Pac-10 Champs and on their way to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl for the third time in four years.
USC quarterback John David Booty said the Trojans are excited about reaching their yearly goal of making it to the Rose Bowl.
"We are very honored to be in this situation and hopefully we can come out with another BCS win," said Booty. "That's our goal to start every year to start the season. The big thing for us I think is just that we are there and we will find out tomorrow or Monday whenever it is who we will play."
Recruits Spotted at the Game
Mater Dei QB Matt Barkley
Mater Dei OL Khaled Holmes
Notre Dame DE Wes Horton
Dominguez LB Marquis Simmons
Clear Creek (TX) DB Marcus Davis
Agoura OL Kevin Graf
Venice RB Curtis McNeal
Rancho Verde OL Tyron Smith
Inglewood WR Shaquelle Evans
Wichita (KS) LB Arthur Brown
Wichita (KS) RB Bryce Brown
Homestead (FL) LB Marcus Robinson
Sevite OL Matt Kalil
USC linebacker Keith Rivers left the game early after re-injuring his ankle. Rivers was upbeat after the game. When asked about the severity of his injury Rivers chuckled and replied, "Luckily I got a month off to rest."
Rivers said he expects to be fully healed in time for the Rose Bowl.
Fun Facts and Stats
USC and UCLA have now played 77 times and USC leads the series 42-28-7.
USC now has six straight 10-win seasons, the most consecutive 10-win seasons in school history.
Saturday's 24-7 win over the Bruins was Pete Carroll's 75th win at USC.
Fred Davis had 6 catches against UCLA and now has the most catches by a tight end in school history with 110.
Davis led USC in catches for the 8th time this year.
UCLA free safety Dennis Keyes set a new career high with 19 tackles.
The Trojans know they will be playing in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day but who they will face remains to be seen. Pete Carroll and his team will gather on campus on Sunday to watch FOX's halftime BCS Selection Show to find out their opponent.