12/12/20 PASADENA, Ca - The UCLA Bruins let their big lead slipped away as the USC Trojans, down by eighteen-points in the second half, rally to beat their cross-town rivals 43-38 in a thriller at the Rose Bowl.
It was a classic shootout between both of the quarterbacks. UCLA's Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 30 of his 36 passes for 364 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. USC's Kedon Slovis completed 30 of his 47 passes for 344 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Demetric Felton led the Bruins in rushing with 21 carries for 103 yards, and Vavae Malepeai led the Trojans with 19 carries for 110-yards and one touchdown. Greg Dulcich was the leading receiver for UCLA with eight catches for 167-yards and one touchdown.
Tyler Vaughns led the Trojans in receiving with eight catches for 128-yards, one touchdown, London Drake's five catches, two touchdowns, and Amon-Ra St. Brown 10 catches 73 yards, and two touchdowns.
UCLA led 14-0 in the first half after Thompson-Robinson threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Fernea in the first quarter and in the second quarter, a 21-yard touchdown pass to Demetric Felton.
USC would score twice in the second quarter after Slovis threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to London Drake, and a 42-yard field goal by Lewis Parker made the score 14-10. Thompson-Robinson threw a 12-yard touchdown to Felton to give the Bruins a 21-10 lead at halftime.
The Bruins led by eighteen-points 28-10 in the third quarter on Brittan Brown's 15-yard touchdown run. The Trojans would cut into the Bruins' lead, after Tyler Vaughns 38-touchdown catch, and Amon. St, Brown's 3-yard touchdown catch made the score 28-23.
Thompson-Robinson responded to the two touchdowns by the Trojans, found Greg Dulcich wide open, and threw a 69-yard touchdown pass making the score 35-23.
USC continued their rally when Vavae Malepeai scored on a 10-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that made the score 35-30. Drake would give the Trojans their first lead of the game 36-35 after a 9-yard touchdown pass from Slovis.
UCLA regained the lead 38-36 with 56 seconds left in the game after Nicholas Mira-Barr kicked a 43-yard field goal. The play of the game came that gave USC a chance to win the game, came when Gary Bryant return the kick-off for 56-yards to UCLA's 43-yard line.
"Yeah. It was the first time the ball didn't go over his head, "USC's head coach Clayton Helton said. I mean as soon as he kicked it, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, we're going to have a shot here.' We were in a situation where we needed to take every shot we could, so Gary was bringing it out and did a fabulous job. Our kick off returns, our special teams have just been phenomenal this year. That return really set up that drive and made it a lot easier to call plays. If you start at the 25-yard line with 52 seconds, that's a lot different than already being past 50. So we were able to get aggressive and dial-up some man coverage because of that. For the last 25 yards, you're seeing a ton of zone, but after getting across 50, they went ahead and played man, and so Kedon and TV were able to connect."
USC would strike the final blow of the shoot-out, with 16 seconds left in the game, after Slovis threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to St. Brown that made the score 43-38. UCLA Still had a chance to win the game when Thompson-Robinson threw a pass into the endzone to Dulcich, but the Trojans secondary knocked the ball away to secure the victory over their cross-town rivals the UCLA Bruins.
"I wanted to start off by thanking a bunch of great kids for being the definition of "fight on". The entire second half, I never saw one kid quit the fight, and just down the stretch just make play after play after play. Great college football game. A lot of appreciation for coach Kelly and the job that he's doing with his team. That's a very well-coached team, and they played their hearts out tonight.
With the win, the USC Trojans (5-0) will host the Washington Huskies (2-2) in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and perhaps if they win, maybe a chance to get in the NCAA football playoffs. #uscfootball #uclafootball #kedonslovis #pac12football #tylervaughns #amonrastbrown. #pac12 #gregdulcich #ncaafootball #tgsportsv1