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UCLA 38, USC 20: Bruins Smash Trojans, Win Third Straight Over Southern Cal

Jim Mora's UCLA Bruins came out stumbling a bit, spotting the Southern Cal Trojans a touchdown, but the Bruins turned it on and destroyed the Trojans in a game that was far more dominating than the final scoreline suggests.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It was not the start that UCLA fans were hoping for - Brett Hundley's first pass being intercepted and returned for a Southern Cal touchdown to put UCLA down 7-0 early - but we got the game we were hoping for, with UCLA putting together a comprehensive victory over our hated crosstown rivals.  The final score was UCLA 38, Southern Cal 20, but in reality, the game was nowhere as close as the final score would suggest.  If Brett Hundley doesn't make two very uncharacteristic mistakes - the aforementioned pick-six and fumbling the snap in the fourth quarter on the Southern Cal 4-yard line - the score would have easily been at least 45-7.  Absent the gift opening TD and a garbage time TD that UCLA gave up after playing a very sloppy and penalized fourth quarter, UCLA ran away with the game, pounding Cody Kessler and the Second Choice Trojans into the Rose Bowl turf.

First, you have to give credit where credit is due - Jeff Ulbrich called a phenomenal game, shutting down a high-powered Southern Cal offense that was averaging over 35 points per game, limiting the Trojans to just two touchdowns, one of those coming in garbage time when the came was beyond all doubt for UCLA.  To his credit, Hundley shook off the opening pick-six and showed outstanding composure to pick apart the Trojan secondary and light the scoreboard up.

Of course, there is still room for improvement - the offensive playcalling became very conservative late in the third quarter, giving the distinct feel that Jim Mora was playing with the NFL mentality of run, run, run, and grind out the clock to preserve the win.  If the Bruins kept striking at the Trojans like they did in the second and third quarters, this could have been a massive blowout as the Southern Cal defense, thin and worn down by the Bruins, was showing signs of crumbling.  The WR rotation was perplexing at times, with walk-on players making far more appearances than warranted while Kenny Walker was once again left languishing on the bench after showcasing his deep ball big play ability against Washington.

But, the bottom line is that the Bruins came out, shot themselves in the foot, but came back and punched the Trojans in the mouth time and time again to pick up their third straight win over the Southern Cal Trojans.  And, to the surprise of exactly zero Washington Husky fans, Seven Win Sark remains at . . . seven wins.

It would have been nice to completely run the Trojans off the field by 42+ points, but it's always satisfying to put those mouth-breathing douchebags from across town in their place.  The Bruins get it done, smash the Trojans, and continue to control their destiny in the race for the Pac-12 South crown.  Next up is David Shaw and a stumbling Stanford program - win and the Bruins get a chance at redemption against the Oregon Ducks, with a spot in the College Football Playoff on the line.

And just remember: