This is the post game thread I've waited for two seasons to write. I've written the post game for nearly every football game the past two seasons (save a few due to familial obligations) but I always loved the victory ones.
And now, a victory over Southern Cal. Even when we beat them, they're still Southern Cal.
The game started on a great note with both teams in their home uniforms. It provides the proper contrast on a gray, gloomy, rainy day at the Rose Bowl. It hadn't rained on this game in over 50 years at the Rose Bowl (I think) and we won that game too, so the odds looked good for us. It looked even better when on the first play from scrimmage Matt Barkley is picked by Aaron Hester and we convert for the touchdown on the run by Brett Hundley. Great start.
In fact the entire first quarter was spectacular. The crowd was into it, Southern CaL went nowhere on their next drive, and we march right down the field and connect on a 23 yard Ka'imi Fairbairn field goal. We should have had 7, but Jeff Baca twitched and instead of it being 4th and 1, it became 4th and six.
Southern Cal continues their self destruction in the first quarter, as the ball is pitched to Lee and he fumbles and is CONFIRMED. We take advantage with Hundley lifting the ball to Fauria for a touchdown. 17-0. YES. On defense, we force SC into a fourth down situation, and Barkley looks for his BFF Marqise Lee, and the ball goes... nowhere. UCLA ball. Once again, UCLA takes advantage of the turnover, and with some spectacular, persistent running by the Mayor, Johnathan Franklin, he keeps his leggs moving and runs it into the touchdown. 24-0 UCLA. Wow.
Of course, USC is USC and they slowly manage to sneak back into the game. Barkley over the middle to Woods, immediate touchdown. We punt, and Barkley quickly hits Telfer, touchdown. 24-14. When we return from halftime, we go nowhere on our first drive, and USC quickly scores again, but misses the PAT. 24-20, UCLA. The nerves start to creep in again for us as UCLA fans, as we have seen this story before.
Yet it's not the same story this time. UCLA is a different team, and we do not break. Our special team makes their presence known again, and blocks a USC field goal attempt from the 33. Thank you, Eric Kendricks. That was a spectacular play and your name may be etched in this rivalry's lore. We take advantage of the turnover again, and Brett Hundley keeps the ball and runs it in for a touchdown. 31-20 Bruins.
In the fourth quarter, it gets interesting. After a missed USC field goal, we are unable to take advantage of the good field position. Price picks up a pass interference call, and doubt creeps back in for a milisecond. Thankfully, Eric Kendricks has his name called out again, as Matt Barkley throws it RIGHT AT HIM and Kendricks hold on for the interception. This time, we do not convert the turnover into points, and to top it off, Rios doesn't grab the ball to keep it from bouncing into the end zone, when he could have downed it at the 2. Uh oh.
The SPTRs directly contributed to the next SC touchdown, as Anthony Barr TOTALLY SACKED MATT BARKLEY but instead they said he threw it to a receiver. SC winds up scoring and coverts the two point conversion.
This all just leads up to the biggest touchdown in recent UCLA/USC history. After a huge conversion on 3rd and 13 by Hundley to Joe Fauria, who was huge this game, the ball is handed off to Johnathan Franklin, and with a beautiful block by Brendel and by Shaq Evans, Johnathan Franklin runs into the end zone for another touchdown. Even if he did get a flag for his gesture. It was worth it.
Almost not worth it, as USC marches down field, but Anthony Barr finally gets to Matt Barkley, and makes the sack worth his while as he comes up om Barkley's blind side and knocks him out of the game for a play. USC goes for a 38 yard field goal... AND THE KICK IS BLOCKED BY SHELDON PRICE! As maligned as he was in this game, he came up with a huge play at this point in the game, and essentially sealed the game for us.
Every year, our goal is to play well, position ourselves for a good bowl, and oh yes, BEAT SOUTHERN CAL.
And we did that too.
This is for Johnathan Franklin, who has gone through three different coaching regimes, and who knows how many different offensive schemes. For Joe Fauria for his great game. For Brett Hundley, as a red shirt freshman but didn't play like it.
This is for all you Bruins out there.