Then, things got ugly again.
With 9:39 to go in the half, Kedon Slovis found Michael Pittman Jr. for a touchdown to give the Trojans the lead for good, 17-14. In fact, it was the first of four consecutive touchdowns for Southern Cal over the next 16 minutes.
Meanwhile, UCLA struggled offensively over the same timeframe. The Bruins’ JJ Molson missed a 54-yard field goal and, then, UCLA went three-and-out on their next three possessions as Southern Cal jumped to a 38-14 lead.
With 6:20 left in the third quarter, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who appeared to be in pain for much of the game, found Devin Asiasi for a 53-yard touchdown. The Bruins cut the lead to 10 points on their next possession when DTR led a 73-yard drive that was capped by a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chase Cota.
But, it was too little, too late as the Trojans responded to both that drive and UCLA’s next touchdown drive, which was capped by a 1-yard run by Joshua Kelley, with touchdowns to make it 52-35.
The bottom line here is that the Bruin defense just couldn’t find a way to stop the Southern Cal offense. Slovis torched the Bruins for 515 yards passing and four touchdowns, but the more telling stat might be the fact that Slovis finished the game having completed 37 of 47 passing attempts. Four Southern Cal receivers finished with more than 100 yards receiving. Drake London and Tyler Vaughns averaged 17.8 and 17.7 yards per catch, respectively, while Amon-Ra St. Brown averaged 16.0 yards per catch. The Bruins managed to keep Michael Pittman Jr. from gaining long yards. His longest catch of the day was for just 13 yards, compared 46 for London, 44 for Vaughns and 24 for St. Brown.
But, the Bruins couldn’t keep the ball out of Pittman’s hands. He finished the game with 13 receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Joshua Kelley was not the force in this year’s game like he was last season. He had just 15 carries for 45 yards and didn’t even lead the Bruins in rushing today. DTR led the Bruins in rushing with 65 yards on 16 carries.
Thompson-Robinson finished with a decent day that will be overshadowed by Slovis’ performance. DTR completed 26 of 44 attempts for 367 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
But, it was the defense’s inability to stop the Trojan offense that cost the Bruins this game.
The loss eliminates UCLA from bowl-eligibility as the Bruins are now just 4-7. UCLA will finish the season next Saturday night against UC Berkeley at 7:30 pm PT. The game will air on Fox Sports 1.