Play It Forward Nov. 30-Dec. 6: USC football packs one more in for the road

Mark J. Terrell/Associated Press

Mark J. Terrell/Associated Press

Details/TV: At Santa Clara, Saturday at 4:45 p.m., ESPN:
5457094e-a372-4886-8b31-03d480d1473f_26991_CUSTOMThe college football world was so much different back on Sept. 20. In Week 3, No. 6 USC, under Steve Sarkisian, was an untested 2-0 and unranked Stanford was trying to figure itself out after a season-opening loss at Northwestern. Then the Trojans and Cardinal met in the Pac-12 opener at the Coliseum, and things turned sideways. Sophomore Christian McCaffrey, who wasn’t in the Heisman discussion, ran for 115 yards while a battered-and-bruised Kevin Hogan threw for two TDs and 279 yards as the double-digit underdog Cardinal upended the Trojans, 41-31. Remound Wright had 11 carries and scored three rushing TDs against USC that day. “Whenever you play Stanford, you’re going to play big-boy ball, and that’s what we’ve got to do,” said USC linebacker Su’a Cravens after that game. “We’ve got to grow up. We’ve got to establish ourselves and execute.” So look at what has happened now. The teams that started the conference season against each other will now end it. The Trojans (8-4, 6-3), who coached by Clay Helton have crept back into the AP poll at No. 24, have the Pac-12 South because of a tie-breaker against Utah. Stanford (10-2, 8-1), inching up to No. 7 in the AP poll after outlasting Notre Dame last Saturday, had the Pac-12 North wrapped up a couple of weeks ago. It ended up getting 1,640 yards rushing, 435 yards receiving and is closing in on Barry Sander’s all-time FBS record of 3,250 all-purpose yards. Hogan finished second in the conference in passing rating (168.6, 23 TDs, 7 INTs), one spot ahead of USC’s Cody Kessler (158.6, 27 TDs, 6 INTs). Hogan, however, was sacked just 17 times this season, the fewest of any conference starter. Kessler went down 31 times.

UCLA welcomes No. 1 Kentucky to Pauley Pavilion (Thursday, 6 p.m., ESPN) …  The Kings’ week of three home games includes one against Pittsburgh (Saturday, 1 p.m., FSW) … Highlights of the CIF Southern Section division championships include a Pac-5 rematch of St. John Bosco and Centennial (Corona) at Angel Stadium (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., FSW) while Narbonne and Crenshaw meet for the L.A. City Division I title … The college football playoff final four depends on how No. 1 Clemson does in the ACC title game against North Carolina (Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 7) and No. 2 Alabama does in the SEC title game against Florida (Saturday, 1 p.m., Channel 2) … The Lakers’ eight-game, two week road trip starts in Philadelphia (Tuesday, 4 p.m., TWC SportsNet) … More at this link.


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Weekly media column notes version 11.26.15 — Dig in

With Vin Scully’s 88th birthday coming up Sunday, here’s the stuff worth posting now instead of much later:

== Your Week 12 of the NFL brings seven games this weekend:
Thanksgiving_1900= Thursday’s Thanksgiving games:
* Philadelphia at Detroit, 9:30 a.m., Channel 11, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman
* 10-0 Carolina at Dallas, 1:30 p.m., Channel 2, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
* Chicago at Green Bay, 5:30 p.m., Channel 4, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth
= Sunday’s menu: CBS has the doubleheader, which means the mandatory 2-8 San Diego game, this time at 4-6 Jacksonville (10 a.m., Channel 2, Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots). Games not available because of this: Oakland-Tennessee, Buffalo-Kansas City and Miami-N.Y. Jets. The second offering goes to everyone: Pittsburgh at Seattle (1:25 p.m., Channel 2, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms).
= Fox’s single game will be N.Y. Giants at Washington (10 a.m., Kenny Albert, Darryl Johnston) instead of Tampa Bay-Indianapolis, New Orleans-Houston, Minnesota-Atlanta, St. Louis-Cincinnati or Arizona-San Francisco.
= NBC wrangles 10-0 New England at 8-2 Denver (5:30 p.m., Channel 4, Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth).
= ESPN’s Monday Night matchup is Baltimore-Cleveland (5:30 p.m., Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden).

== A look at how college football Week 13 affects the L.A. viewing audience:
= ABC/Channel 7 has Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman and Todd McShay at the 12:30 p.m. UCLA-USC contest from the Coliseum. Roxy Bernstein and Tom Ramsey also call the game for ESPN Radio nationally.
= ESPN “College GameDay” is going to Stillwater, Okla., prior to the ABC coverage of Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (5 p.m., Channel 7, Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox). The ABC triple-header starts with Ohio State at Michigan (9 a.m., Channel 7, Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe).
= Coverage of Thursday Thanksgiving games:
TurkeyFootball-Kime-Seng-John-Martinez-Pavliga-on-flick-edits-by-John-McAuley1* ESPN has South Florida at Central Florida (4:30 p.m., Joe Tessitore, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack, Kaylee Hartung); FS1 has Texas Tech at Texas (4:30 p.m., Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman )
= Highlights of Friday’s games:
* ABC has Adam Amin, Kelly Stouffer, Olivia Harlan doing Nebraska-Iowa (12:30 p.m., Channel 7) after Dave Flemming, Mack Brown, Allison Williams do Navy-Houston (9 a.m., Channel 7); ESPN has Dave Pasch, Brian Griese, Tom Luginbill for Baylor-TCU (4:30 p.m.). CBS has Missouri-Arkansas (11:30 a.m., Channel 2, Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor).  Also, the Pac-12 strategically has Oregon State at Oregon (FS1, 1 p.m., Chris Myers, Evan Moore) going up against Washington State at Washington (Channel 11, 12:30 p.m., Joe Davis, Brady Quinn) for maximum exposure.
= The best of the rest for Saturday:
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USC-UCLA major anniversary games: A look back at 50 and 75 years ago

Fourth in a series: As part of the lead-up to the 2015 USC-UCLA game, we look back at some intriguing anniversaries that have aligned this year:

50 years ago: 1965
UCLA 20, USC 16

Kurt Altenberg with UCLA students in 1965. UCLA library archives

Kurt Altenberg with UCLA students in 1965. UCLA library archives

With the Athletic Association of Western Universities title on the line and a trip to the Rose Bowl, No. 6 USC had a 16-6 lead over first-year Bruins head coach Tommy Prothro’s No. 7 team with four minutes left, thanks to two Troy Winslow TD passes and a field goal by Tim Rossovich. Then USC committed its fifth turnover of the game. Sophomore quarterback Gary Beban’s 34-yard TD pass to Dick Witcher, plus a two-point conversion pass, made it 16-14. UCLA then recovered an onsides kick at the Trojans’ 48. With 2:39 left, Kirk Altenberg’s 52-yard touchdown catch from Beban before 94,085 at the Coliseum capped off one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of the cross-town rivalry. Mike Garrett, the eventual Heisman winner, ran for 210 yards but had several key fumbles for USC (6-2-1, 4-1) that led to scores by UCLA (7-1-1, 4-0). The victory ended a three-year losing streak to USC for the Bruins. Postscript: UCLA got past No. 1 Michigan State 14-12 in the Rose Bowl, the first win for the Bruins in the Jan. 1 classic, and end the season ranked No. 4. USC was ranked No. 10.

75 years ago: 1940
USC 28, UCLA 12
indexThe seventh game in the series — the Trojans had won five of them to go with two ties — was the last one coached by USC’s Howard Jones, and the final one  played by UCLA star left halfback Jackie Robinson. The Trojans won behind 170 yards rushing and three touchdowns by Bobby Robertson on 31 carries, plus return one kickoff for 60 yards and another for 30. But there were no USC passing yards. Robinson, who would score 36 of the team’s 79 total points that year, had a first-quarter TD run untouched for 6 yards that gave the Bruins a 6-0 lead, plus and a fourth-quarter TD pass of 15 yards to Ted Forbes. But Robinson missed both PAT kicks — the first was blocked, and he picked it up, trying to throw for a conversion that was incomplete. Robinson ended up running 13 times for 56 yards, the longest for 21 yards on a first-quarter fake punt. He also completed eight of 18 pass attempts for 81 yards according to the primitive play-by-play sheet in USC’s archives. That season, Robinson led the Bruins in rushing (383 yards), passing (444 yards), total offense (827 yards), and punt return average (21 yards) but the team went 1-9 record, 1-6 in the Pacific Coast Conference. Jones’ Trojans finished with its worst record under his watch (3-4-2, 2-3-2). He retired after the season only to die of a heart attack in 1941. In 16 years at USC (1925-40), he was 121-36-13 with a 5-0 mark in the Rose Bowl. His coaching career started in 1908 at Syracuse.

= A look back at games 35, 40 and 45 years ago at this link.
= A look back at games 20, 25 and 30 years ago at this link.
= A look back at games 5, 10 and 15 years ago at this link


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USC-UCLA major anniversary games: A look back at 35, 40 and 45 years ago

Third in a series: As part of the lead-up to the 2015 USC-UCLA game, we look back at some intriguing anniversaries that have aligned this year:

35 years ago: 1980
UCLA 20, USC 17
temp20140428-McNeil---UCLA-2--nfl_mezz_1280_1024Dubbed “The Probation Bowl,” No. 18 UCLA (9-2, 5-2) and No. 12 USC (8-2-1, 4-2-1) had nowhere to go from here since both were on NCAA lockdown. This one became famous for a Jay Schroeder pass tipped by USC’s Jeff Fisher into the arms of Freeman McNeil, who ran it in a 58-yard touchdown with two minutes to play. This was the last time UCLA played as the home team at the Coliseum, and it was also UCLA coach Terry Donahue’s first win over USC after losing his first four to John Robinson.

40 years ago: 1975
UCLA 25, USC 22

John McKay coached his last game at the Coliseum, on a rare Friday after Thanksgiving instead of on a Saturday, and Dick Vermeil’s No. 14 UCLA (8-2-1, 6-1) won a trip to the Rose Bowl against No. 1 Ohio State. The Bruins fumbled 11 times and lost eight of them, including four of them by Wendell Tyler. But USC (7-4, 3-4) capitalized on only one of them, when Ricky Bell’s second TD, and a two-point conversion, brought USC to within three as the fourth quarter opened. Continue reading

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USC-UCLA major anniversary games: A look back at 20, 25 and 30 years ago

Second in a series: As part of the lead-up to the 2015 USC-UCLA game, we look back at some intriguing anniversaries that have aligned this year:

RZEHYFIZSMSNBJB.2013042400304420 years ago: 1995
UCLA 24, USC 20
Terry Donahue’s fifth straight win as the Bruins coach over the Trojans was also the last time he would be on the sidelines, and he was carried off by his players, having posted the most victories in conference history. The No. 11 Trojans (8-2-1, 6-1-1) gave up 21 unanswered points in the first two quarters to the unranked Bruins (7-4, 4-4), playing without injured star tailback Karim Abdul-Jabbar. Sophomore split end Jim McElroy, who caught a TD pass from freshman Cade McNown for 57 yards, also threw one himself 35 yards to Kevin Jordan. USC scored with 3:30 left after a nine-minute drive, failed a two-point conversion, and never got the ball back. McNown ran 21 yards on a third-and-13 call in game’s final minute to secure the win.
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