Trojans PWNed. - Harry How
Roundtable among BruinsNation frontpagers discussing UCLA's victory over Southern Cal.
The UCLA Bruins have a 24-hour celebration rule under the Mora regime, but Bruins Nation does not. Let's keep this party going and discuss some of our thoughts after the game. GO BRUINS!
1. Initial Impressions?
bruinclassof10: WE BEAT SOUTHERN CAL!!!!!! I'm a believer. I admit I had my doubts about Coaches Jim Mora, Noel Mazzone and Lou Spanos at the beginning of the season but our team's great success this year is due to their coaching, the other coaches (Meat, Klemm, Ulbrich, Broussard, McClure, Yarber, Tui) and our players. Wow!!!! I'm cynical at times because of the past few years, but consider me a true believer in Mora football!
Achilles: We were the better team. As I've noted a few times in the guesses columns, the better team doesn't always win. This isn't "13-9" because that year they were great and we weren't and it was a true upset. Despite the Vegas odds and some media predictions -- we are the better team and we proved it yesterday.
Ryan: LA IS OURS! This isn't 13-9 where we beat them, but everyone, us included, knew SC was the best team in the city. We walked in believing we were better than them and proved it. At least for this year, the best football team in LA is in Westwood. It's been a looooong time since we could say that.
Odysseus: Business finished. We were clearly the better team and we proved it on Saturday. This is a great moment for the players, the students, the coaches, alumni, and fans. Enjoy it.
gbruin: Hands down, best win I can remember since probably 1998. To win that game with that crowd with that much on the line with where we have been feels so good right now.
AHMB: Starting the second half, it was pouring rain, Southern Cal had the momentum, and our offense immediately turned the ball over for a Southern Cal touchdown. Then they missed the extra point, the skies cleared, and our Bruins drove down the field for a touchdown to take the momentum back.
Ajax: Huge, program changing. One of the best games I've seen at the Rose Bowl.
DCBruins: Thank you Bruins! It feels good.
tasser10: This was the first Southern Cal game that I attended since 1993. From the beginning of the week, this game had a whole different feel to it. It wasn't just hope, it was confidence. That's from a fan's perspective, but I think the team felt the same way and you could tell right from the start. The opposite was true for the Trogans. Their coach was nervous all week and it translated to the players. Best of all, the crowd was awesome. I was right by the students and they were into it.
Nestor: This has the potential of becoming one of those seminal victories that could reverse the trajectory of both of these programs. As I mentioned earlier this week, if the Bruins won on Saturday it'd have the potential to stand out like Southern Cal's win from 2001 season when they obliterated us at their place by a score of 27-0. Well it was not a total demolition, but I don't think the game would have been close if the rain wasn't coming down so hard in our first drive in the second half or if Thigpen didn't suffer his injury.
It was an intense emotional experience for all of us and crossing my fingers that Bruins only build on this.
freesia39: YESSS!!! There were some moments where I was screaming at my TV, but YES WE WON AND LOOKED GOOD DOING IT. I will echo what M said, the rain washed away years of hurt and pain. So cleansing.
2. The Good
bruinclassof10: We beat Southern Cal!!!!!! Anthony Barr's hit on Barkley was icing on the cake. Glorious. Barkley will remember that one forever. My last memory of Barkley in a ketchup and mustard jersey will be of Barr destroying him. 9-2. Pac-12 South champions. Our D stopped Marqise Lee. The Rose Bowl atmosphere was amazing and the loser in the skirt didn't stab our field (special thanks to Classof66 and JoeBruin15 for leading the charge).
Achilles: Great scheme on defense. More on that at the end of the week in Pregame Guesses, but in short: best defensive game plan we've had in forever.
Ryan: Everyone on the team played well and the coaches were great, but a special shout out to the Den. I can't remember the last time I saw them so fired up and they had the place rocking. Being there when we beat SC is going to be great no matter what, but to have the special atmosphere driven by the students took it up a notch. Hopefully this becomes the norm.
Odysseus: Back to back Pac-12 South Champs. Have Barkley and Kiffin ever won anything? The whole game was great, but the final score was the best.
gbruin: The best part was how we handled adversity...dealing with their late first half charge, with that ridiculous fumble for a TD, with the weather, with that "incomplete pass", with their comeback, with their receivers, the pressure of a big game. The Bruins had an answer for everything. Timely defense, big special teams, clutch offensive plays. What a satisfying performance from our team!
AHMB: Our guys played the way they were supposed to play. They won the money plays; they converted third downs and held Southern Cal on third and fourth downs.
Ajax: Where to start? So many players stepped up on Saturday. The team came out breathing fire. The Rose Bowl atmosphere was electric. The Den was absolutely rocking.
DCBruins: Nestor once told me that I could not compare Hundley to Cade until he beat USC. Well Hundley did and now I can start to compare. Hundley is so calm and collected, how can he only be a redshirt freshman? I now feel if a game is close, we will win because of Hundley. A feeling I have not had in years. It was really sweet when the announcer started talking about who the best quarterback was and it was our quarterback for the next four years, I hope.
tasser10: Everything! Even the rain! But really, it was the preparation and the mental toughness that stood out, the refusal to lose, led by Franklin, Fauria and Hundley, the intensity of the defense and the pride of the secondary.
Nestor: Ditto to what everyone has said so far. I'd add another thing. The rain in the Rose Bowl may have washed away more than a decade of Bruin sorrow, agony and frustration. It was poetic.
freesia39: We won! We won! we won!
3. The Bad
bruinclassof10: There is nothing bad that I can glean during a victory over Southern Cal.
Achilles: Lots and lots of penalties.
Ryan: Not even touching this. I'm not getting into any "bad" today.
Odysseus: Penalties and SPTRs. Barkley was sacked and he basically spiked the ball. The ruling -- incomplete pass. Terrible. He was in the pocket, there was no receiver in the area, and it didn't get back to the line of scrimmage. How is that not intentional grounding?
gbruin: Heck, I don't want to criticize anything. How's this: The rain, and what it does to properly inflated balls with points on them?
AHMB: Kiffin will probably be fired. I really hope he comes back.
Ajax: Still too many penalties, although some of the penalties can be attributed to SFPTR's. Pass protection needs some work.
DCBruins: Shame on the PAC 12 as rivalry games should always be the last game of the season.
tasser10: SPTRs. Just plain awful. And Baca had way too many penalties.
Nestor: I am bummed about the injury to Damien Thigpen. I love that kid's game. Hoping he can come back strong. He was really developing into a special weapon and we had some issues with filling his spot. Hopefuly Jordon James will be ready. If Steve Manfro can get back, it'd be a great time for him to step up as well.
freesia39: Damien Thigpen's injury. :(
4. Game's Most Valuable Player(s)?
bruinclassof10: I'll say the entire team came together during this game. Offense. Defense. Special Teams. A special shoutout to our much maligned senior cornerbacks, Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price for holding it down on Saturday!
Achilles: Jetski, Fauria, Shaq, Barr, Locke, Kendricks ... the list goes on.
Ryan: There's a lot of praise to go around. Price and Hester really stepped up and while they weren't shutdown, they did what they had to against an excellent receiving corps. That's not an easy task. Jetski did his usual thing and (at some point this won't be a surprise anymore, but he's still a freshman so holy crap) Hundley showed the poise and smarts that SC's senior golden boy didn't. Finally, major props to Fauria whose catch on third down was really tough and kept the final drive alive. Without it, I think we lose.
Odysseus: Kendricks and Franklin.
gbruin: I'm going with Hester and Price and the rest of the secondary. To take nothing away from Franklin and Hundley and Fauria and Shaq and Locke and Kendricks and Barr and Datone and XSF and the O line, who all played fantastic, it was really those two CB's who played far better than we could have expected. They were our weakest link against their strongest, and our guys kept them in check enough. Outstanding effort by both of them.
AHMB: It really was a total team effort. If I was going to choose one, I'd say Franklin because he really is the heart of the team.
Ajax: On offense: The Mayor, Hundley and Fauria. On defense, Erik Kendriks played like a man possessed. Of course, Anthony Barr putting the smack down on Barkley was the sweet icing on the cake.
DCBruins: So many, but I will give it to a non-player, Coach Mora. He has truly brought culture change to UCLA. The Bruins fought the whole game.
tasser10: On offense: Franklin, Hundley, Evans and Fauria. On defense, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.
Nestor: The obvious top line mentions here are Brett Hundley, Johnathan Franklin, Shaq Evans, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Aaron Hester and Jeff Locke. But really the entire team went legend on Saturday.
freesia39: I nominate everyone. I don't think anyone had a truly boneheaded day. (outside of Jeff Baca having a couple of badly timed penalties.)
5. Honorable Mentions?
bruinclassof10: Brett Hundley. Jetski. Shaq Evans. Joe Fauria. Anthony Barr. Owa. Marsh. Datone Jones. Eric Kendricks, Sheldon Price. Aaron Hester. Jeff Locke. X-Man. Tevin McDonald. Kai'mi, Last but not least, the unsung hero of the game, Jake Brendel who was hurt but returned to finish the game. What a warrior. The list goes on and on.
Achilles: The o-line. XSF is a beast. Goines played well. They all played pretty well.
Ryan: Everyone else. XSF was excellent, as was Goines up front and Brendel battled injury and the rain, but was still rock solid. Evans has really improved this year and it showed. HUGE honorable mention also goes to Jeff Locke, whose kickoffs took away a huge part of Lee's game.
gbruin: All the names above, plus Coach Mora and all his staff for having the Bruins come out of the tunnel on fire and playing from the opening kickoff. Coach Spanos had a good scheme to hold them to 28.
Ajax: The WR unit was stellar. They caught everything thrown at them. The DL also played a very good game. The secondary did just enough to keep the Trogan offense in check. The special teams were fantastic.
DCBruins: The Mayor. Two years ago, Franklin was the only player on the field that wanted to win against USC it seemed. But he fumbled and then was benched. Coach Neuheisel infamously said he "forget" about Franklin in the second half of that game. Franklin made sure no one forgot him this time or forever.
tasser10: Special teams were awesome.
Nestor: Our special teams. Those guys have been playing at a different level last couple of weeks.
freesia39: The coaching staff for keeping this team focused and up for this game.
6. What we hope gets addressed against Stanford next week?
bruinclassof10: Let's keep handling business as usual, the season isn't over and we have a shot at the Rose Bowl.
Ryan: Penalties and starting quickly again. A letdown is possible. If the Bruins come out fired up then the culture change really is here.
Odysseus: Finish it. This team has a chance to be pretty special this year and set up another big season next year.
gbruin: Better run defense. I was surprised how effectively *$c ran on us, and the Stanford line and Stepfan Taylorwill be a step up from that, I think.
AHMB: The fact that we have a chance to host the Pac-12 Championship game. After an emotional game, our guys have a big cookie to play for.
Ajax: Stanford leads the league in sacks, so pass protection will have to signficantly improve.
DCBruins: We need to do a better job stopping the run.
tasser10: Rush defense will need to be stellar. Huge challenge for the Bruins.
Nestor: I think it will be interesting how Noel Mazzone schemes against Stanford. I really liked how we attacked Southern Cal on first couple of downs with quick, short passes (Jerry Johnson had a good game). It was a different approach than the one we took against Oregon State when we had Jet Ski running up against an 8 man front, with 6 Bruins blocking for him. Mazzone will have to mix it up a bit to play a team that is built like a Big-10 program.
freesia39: That the players don't take it too loosely since we will know the Oregon result before we kick off.
7. The Extra Point.
bruinclassof10: 38-28!!! UC...LA! UC...LA!
Achilles: The first thing I thought of was to give a couple of props to Marquise Lee and Curtis McNeal. I'm not too partisan to note that Lee is a great wide receiver, every time he caught the ball I held my breath. Curtis McNeal ran tough all day.
Ryan: LA IS OURS!!!!
Odysseus: Back to recruiting again, we need to continue that recruiting momentum. Why would anyone want to go to USC? They have talented players who don't develop under Kiffin. Clearly, the players have improved and developed so far under Mora and his staff. Let's continue that and go get some more recruits!
gbruin: It's almost unfair to our team and players that we now have another big game this week. I am very interested to see how the coaches and players come out this week. Will we be content with what we just did? Will there be a let down? I think we can all agree this really is a different culture right now and this is an excellent team. But are they champion level yet? Next Saturday will help show just how far things have changed.
AHMB: Next week's game is really going to be interesting. Our guys are coming off an emotional win, and Stanford is coming off an equally emotional game. The two teams have a lot on the line in a very weird game. Win or lose, UCLA may play Stanford again the following week. It's very odd, and the Pac-12 probably shouldn't schedule teams from opposing divisions in the last week of the season going forward.
Ajax: We are Pac 12 South Champs with a clear path to the Rose Bowl. This team has far exceeded expectations. Give credit to Coach Mora and his staff. They have done an incredible job with this program.
DCBruins: This is a very strange situation. There is a good chance we will play Stanford again in the championship game. If we lose, we will travel to Stanford. If we win and Oregon loses, we will play Stanford at home. Of course if we win and Oregon beats Oregon State we will play against Oregon on the road. Do we go vanilla and save some things for the next game against Stanford for the PAC 12 Championship? Interesting to see how Mora deals with this.
tasser10: I couldn't help but look at the student section and think to myself...these kids are going to be hooked for life. I hope the school does right by them. Oh, and F*#K SC!
Nestor: Right when the game ended I got a call from gbruin and we soaked up the moment. It's been emotional to see how this (BruinsNation) community has been soaking up the win last 48 hours. We have been around for 7 years and huge chunk of it has been about enduring pain and frustration. Last three years have been especially difficult with brutal losses in both football and hoops right around Thanksgiving. So it's awesome to so many of us who have stuck with our team - even through the hard times (watching games, hanging out in game threads) to soak in all the feel good blue and gold vibes from last 48 hours. This is what it's all about. GO BRUINS.
Folks, feel free to share your thoughts about the game, the weather and the Bruins taking back the city and the Victory Bell!