In what was their first loss to UCLA in four years, the Trojans hit rock-bottom this season as they lost their sixth game this season 34-27 to a 2-8 Bruin team.
JT Daniels threw for a career-high 337 yards to go along with two touchdowns and two interceptions on 20-of-34 passing. Michael Pittman Jr. and Amon-Ra St. Brown each had great showings as the duo combined for 13 catches 207 yards and two touchdowns.
The first half was full of the usual suspects for the Trojans. Poor tackling and an inability to stop the run led to UCLA runningback Josh Kelley having an absolute field day on the USC defense. In the first half alone, Kelley had already run the ball 21 times for 147 yards and one touchdown.
The brightest spot in the first half USC was special teams. After a failed third and short conversion on QB sneak by Daniels, a fake punt at midfield converted the Trojan fourth down. On the following play, Daniels connected with Amon-Ra St.Brown for a 44-yard touchdown.
Later in the half with the Trojans down 14-10, Isaiah Langley blocked a UCLA punt deep in Bruin territory that resulted in a scoop and a score by Devon Williams.
The third quarter was riddled with penalties as center Toa Lobendahn was called twice for false starts and mishandled a few snaps. Both teams showed promising drives, but they ultimately led to nothing.
The game stated to unravel in the fourth quarter as USC’s inability to produce any meaningful offense ultimately did them in. After pinning the Bruins at their own three-yard line, the USC defense finally broke as Josh Kelley broke off a 55-yard touchdown run to give UCLA the lead.
The Trojans just couldn’t get anything going after that as turnovers and inappropriate run plays stopped USC from scoring any points in the fourth quarter.
Kelley finished the game with 40 carries for two scores and a career-high 289 yards, the most any UCLA player has ever ran for on USC in the 88 years these rivals have squared off.
Next week, USC gets the undefeated #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in what is shaping up to be a remake of last season’s horrific 49-14 trouncing. We’ll see how the Trojans and Clay Helton respond to what will be their most difficult all season.