A roundup of the coverage in Sunday’s edition of the L.A. Daily News:
– UCLA’s 35-14 win over the Trojans gave the team rightful claim to the city, at least for another year.
– Brett Hundley had his way with USC’s defense. Will he come back to do so again?
– The Bruins’ defense held the Trojans to 314 yards, the lowest output of any UCLA opponent this season.
– The loss takes pressure off USC athletic director Pat Haden to hire interim coach Ed Orgeron.
– Columnist Tom Hoffarth shares the story of his old USC jacket, a gift long lost.
Some thoughts from the victory:
– Might as well start with some quick “we run L.A.” quotes …
– Jim Mora is clearly moving UCLA along the right path. The Bruins navigated a tougher schedule in Year Two and matched last year’s 9-3 regular-season record. They didn’t lose any games they truly deserved to win, and had a shot at beating both Arizona State and Stanford. The team couldn’t repeat as Pac-12 South champion, but the division is also much better than it’s ever been.
– Mora moved to 16-0 at UCLA when leading at halftime.
– He also became just the second coach to start his UCLA tenure 2-0 against USC. No one has ever started 3-0, and only two coaches have even finished with winning records in the rivalry: Henry “Red” Sanders (6-3), and Terry Donahue (10-9-1).
– Mora made a clear pitch to recruits after the game:
He and the staff will hit the trail all next week, and the win over USC will only help them pitch the program to top prospects.
“There’s rules where we can’t to these guys, and they’re all standing outside the locker room wanting to talk,” offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said. “That’s an exciting thing. … Hopefully, this gives us a little bit of momentum going into it.”
– The offensive line played surprisingly well after right tackle Caleb Benenoch was ejected for throwing a punch early in the game. Even Klemm sounded surprised as to how ably Ben Wysocki filled in. Normally practicing at guard, the redshirt sophomore hasn’t gotten many reps this season, and looked a guy that might transfer out once all the true freshmen come off their redshirt years.
Behind a line that likely had USC’s defensive front drooling, Brett Hundley took just two sacks.
– That said, the Trojans’ inability to adjust their gameplan was stunning. A defense that entered the game second in the Pac-12 against the run (and the pass) did little to try and contain Hundley on the ground. The redshirt sophomore scrambled for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns, rarely facing even a spy.
“We tried everything,” Orgeron said. “We tried what we called a push rush. We started blitzing and they started blitzing us. It seemed like everything we did, they countered.”
– Pac-12 officiating is usually bad both ways, but man, Anthony Barr sure does get held a lot. His three tackles for loss gave him 41.5 over two seasons at linebacker. Remarkably, he is just four shy of tying Carnell Lake — a three-year starter on defense — for the UCLA career record.
– Running backs Jordon James’ return from a lingering ankle injury helped the Bruins balance out their offense a little more. After missing six of the last seven games, the junior had 16 carries for 54 yards and two catches for 22 yards. Redshirt freshman Paul Perkins looked impressive with 34 rushing yards and a career-high 79 receiving yards.
Myles Jack was only called upon twice: his three-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and his one-yard loss on fourth down.
– Jack actually ended up with the same yards per carry (1.0) as defensive Eddie Vanderdoes, who scored on his first career carry.
– The 21-point margin of victory was UCLA’s largest over USC since a 45-20 win in 1970.
– UCLA’s most likely postseason destination is the Sun Bowl. This could change if Oregon manages to sneak back into a BCS bowl. At least one projection has the Ducks in the Orange Bowl. If that happens, and Arizona State makes it into the Rose Bowl, the Alamo Bowl may pass up Stanford’s poor travel crowds for UCLA. San Antonio has had reps at around half of the Bruins’ games this season, and passed out flyers again Saturday night.
But really, anyone set on watching one more game in person should start looking at flights to El Paso.