3 Keys Revisited

The USC Trojans are headed back to the Rose Bowl after beating UCLA, 24-7 at the Coliseum. Kevin Carden revisits the 3 Keys to a Trojan Victory after the Trojans big win.

1. Slow Down UCLA's Pass Rush

The USC offensive line had all off season to hear how they had been dominated by Bruce Davis and the Bruins defense. All week they had to answer questions about last year's debacle that cost the Trojans a shot at the national championship. USC's linemen respectfully answered every question and had nothing but praise for the Bruins. But after a year of answering questions Sam Baker and the boys were ready to let their play do the talking on Saturday.

USC's offensive line responded with an impressive performance of their own allowing just one sack and racking up 437 yards.

John David Booty didn't face nearly as much pressure as he did last year and was able to set up in the pocket and find open receivers. Booty had a solid performance in his last game at the Coliseum passing for 206 yards and a touchdown.

The Trojans were able to slow UCLA's pass rush in large part because they had so much success on the ground. USC rushed for 231 yards, which was the second-most rushing yards allowed by UCLA this season.

Without a heavy pass rush like they had in last year's upset the Bruins had no shot at beating USC at the Coliseum.

2. Win the Turnover Battle

When a team as talented as USC wins the turnover battle they are very hard to beat as we saw on Saturday.

The Bruins started out slow turning the ball over twice in the first quarter. UCLA running back Chris Markey fumbled on the Bruins first drive and USC wasted no time turning the turnover into 7 points.

John David Booty connected with Stanley Havili for 27 yards and on the next play Joe McKnight got the Trojans on the board with a 5-yard touchdown run.

USC also capitalized on a Terrell Thomas interception late in the third quarter. Thomas' interception led to a Fred Davis touchdown reception which gave the Trojans a 24-7 lead and ended any chance of a UCLA comeback.

UCLA needed to play a nearly perfect game to pull of another upset and the Bruins 4 turnovers sealed their fate.

3. Improve Special Teams

The Trojans made no major mistakes on special teams which was a vast improvement from when they allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown and had a punt blocked against Arizona State. David Buehler did miss a 40-yard field goal attempt but also mad a 46-yard field goal.

Overall USC fans have to be happy with the way the special teams responded this week.

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