Jon Gaede | BVN Sports
More than a crosstown rivalry, this college football game annually brings nationwide attention in anticipation of tradition, great athletic performances, and memorable games.
Being unranked, but with everything to play for, can often bring out great performances, especially with a national television audience tuning in and the opportunity for young stars to emerge.
In the past, both the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins, have had competitive season records before the kickoff of the rivalry game, but not this year. USC has led the rivalry (49-33) over UCLA since 1929, however, this year’s Trojan team came in (4-5) without head coach Clay Helton, who was let go after losing to Stanford in September. The Bruins with a (6-4) record, have been inconsistent, but are bowl eligible.
For those who like high scoring college football, last Saturday’s Trojan-Bruin coliseum battle did not disappoint. UCLA’s all-purpose running back, Kazmeir Allen, made big plays all day long, scoring three touchdowns, two on catches from quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and including a 100 yard first half kickoff return that abruptly slowed USC’s momentum.
USC gave freshman quarterback Jaxon Dart his first start over the injured Kedon Slovis. Dart threw the ball 47 times in a catch-up role, completing 27 on the day. Dart could have used leading receiver Drake London, a potential Biletnikoff award recipient with 88 receptions for 1,084 yards. London, however, suffered a devastating ankle fracture against Arizona.
Corona Centennial’s wide receiver Gary Bryant had a career best day, with nine catches for 161 yards and a touchdown against the Bruins. The Riverside sophomore managed to catch every ball thrown his way and extend each play for maximum yards. USC’s running back Vevae Malapeai added three touchdowns on ten carries.
The athleticism of Bruin quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, accumulating over 600 yards on the Trojan defense, was the glaring difference on the day. Thompson-Robinson’s six touchdowns were simply too much for USC to overcome, throwing for 350 yards and four touchdowns, then running for two more.
USC plays BYU at the Coliseum on Saturday night and can still become bowl eligible by winning its last two games. UCLA plays Cal at home on Saturday and hopes for a better bowl bid.