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.
UCLA’s offensive line recruiting still needs work, but the Bruins have picked up two four-star prospects in two weeks.
Offensive tackle Alex Akingbulu announced his decision on Thursday to join UCLA, making him just the second incoming member of that position group. The only other offensive line recruit currently committed to the Bruins’ 2016 class is four-star offensive guard Michael Alves.
— Alex Akingbulu (@KingBulu) November 26, 2015
Akingbulu is rated as four stars by Rivals.com, and three stars by Scout.com. A former basketball player, the Harbor City Narbonne product has upside but still needs to fill out his 6-foot-6 frame. He’s currently listed at 265 pounds.
UCLA lost a commitment from three-star center Toleafoa Sean Auwae earlier this week.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Here’s some of our UCLA and rivalry coverage this week.
» Terry Donahue was at UCLA for 20 years, but still thinks he left too early.
» Heisman winner Gary Beban reflects on the 1966 Rose Bowl, as well as the UCLA-USC rivalry.
» The Minnesota Vikings have five players from UCLA, and three from USC. Former Bruin linebacker Anthony Barr: “It’s pretty incredible when you think about it.”
» Reggie Bush still looms over the UCLA-USC recruiting battle, even 10 years after his last college game.
» Actors Timothy Olyphant (USC ’90) and Will Forte (UCLA ’93) teamed up to help raise money for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, appearing in a video that will play during Saturday’s game.
» Linebacker Jayon Brown has developed into a valuable player for a banged-up UCLA defense.
» Former UCLA walk-on Bob Myers, 40, has become one of the forces behind the Golden State Warriors.