Some people just can’t let go of the past.
On UCLA’s side, there was linebacker Aaron Wallace, who was redshirting when the Bruins fell apart in a historic 50-0 loss to USC in 2012. Since then, Wallace has been a part of three straight victories, with each one coming by double digits. In his mind, however, that still hasn’t balanced the scales.
“I don’t think anything ever will,” the senior said this week.
On the Trojans’ side, there was quarterback Matt Barkley, whose college career ended when he was sacked by UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr in 2012. Now a backup for the Arizona Cardinals, he responded to a Pac-12 Networks’ video of that play by pointing out the “50-0 embarrassment the year before.” (Barr himself responded with, “what have you done for me lately.”)
So it goes in one of the unique rivalries of college football, one separated by 14 miles. The latest edition pits together two teams who have seven combined losses, but are still vying for the Pac-12 South title. History is at stake too: When the No. 22 Bruins visit the Coliseum on Saturday (12:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2), Jim Mora will try and become the first UCLA coach to win four straight since Terry Donahue.
When UCLA has the ball
While Barkley was successful in his own right as a true freshman in 2009, Josh Rosen has put his numbers to shame.
UCLA’s true freshman quarterback has thrown 218 passes without an interception dating back to Oct. 15, a school record as well as the longest active streak in the FBS. Barkley had a pick in all but two of his 12 appearances as a hot-shot five-star recruit. The former Trojan star had 15 touchdowns to 14 interceptions that season; the current Bruin’s ratio stands at 19 to seven.
Can Rosen keep his run going in his first rivalry game? Continue reading
Q: Does anyone remember who was favored in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 UCLA and USC football games?
A: According to the Odds Shark database, UCLA was a 3.5-point favorite last year, a 4.5-point underdog in 2013, and a 4-point underdog in 2012.
Q: What’s the injury report on our defense? Also, is Conor McDermott going to play Saturday?
A: Linebacker Isaako Savaiinaea (ankle) and cornerback Johnny Johnson (neck) both dressed and warmed up at Utah, but didn’t play. Mora said Johnson will return, and I’d bet on Savaiinaea playing too. Defensive lineman Matt Dickerson was being examined for an undisclosed injury near the end of UCLA’s win over Utah, and left Wednesday’s practice early. Not sure about his severity, but he wasn’t noticeably limping or anything. Defensive end Takkarist McKinley has been playing through some leg injuries for over a month now, but I expect him to be on the field.
I’d be stunned if Conor McDermott plays. He hasn’t practiced since injuring his knee on Saturday, and I wouldn’t expect him back until the bowl game — if he returns at all. Kolton Miller will almost certainly start at left tackle against USC. Devin Fuller played last weekend, so the wideout will likely be on the field again for the last rivalry game of his career. I’d call freshman receiver Stephen Johnson III doubtful; I didn’t see him anywhere on the field at Utah.
Steve Alford had a teleconference from Hawaii this morning, where the UCLA men’s basketball team will practice again before flying back later today. The Bruins (3-3) are coming off a fourth-place finish in the Maui Invitational, but have already lost three games in November for the first time since 2011.
They return to Pauley Pavilion on Sunday at 4 p.m. against Cal State Northridge. Some quick notes from Alford:
» Senior big man Tony Parker called out the team’s toughness after an 80-77 loss to Wake Forest on Wednesday night. While Alford said some of that was due to frustration, he didn’t disagree with the sentiment either.
“We’ve got a great group of young men,” Alford said. “They’re fun to coach. But we definitely have to get tougher.”
He also gave two main reasons for UCLA’s 19-point blowout loss to Kansas on Tuesday. The first was fatigue: The Jayhawks were coming off a 51-point win over Chaminade, while his team had just held off UNLV in a two-point squeaker. The second?
“We’re not as good as Kansas right now,” he said. “We’re just not.”
The Bruins host No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 3, travel to No. 10 Gonzaga on Dec. 12, and play ninth-ranked North Carolina at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn a week after that.
Alford again remained hopeful that UCLA’s early struggles will pay off later on in the season. He also pointed out that the parity across college basketball. Monmouth, which upset the Bruins to open the season before falling to USC, notched its first-ever win over a ranked team last night by knocking off No. 17 Notre Dame.
» Forward Gyorgy Goloman has been sidelined by a stress fracture since Oct. 11. He was given a recovery timetable of six to eight weeks then, but will be reevaluated by a doctor on Tuesday. The team is hoping to get a more precise return date after that. Continue reading
Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you’re all having a great day. When you get over your food comas, leave any questions you might have below.