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No. 23 USC defeats crosstown rival UCLA 52-35 in regular season finally.

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The victory bell returns to Heritage Hall as USC defeats the UCLA Bruins 52-35 to finish 8-4 in the regular season.

UCLA v USC Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

USC came into their final game wanting to do two things. Finish the season strong and defeat UCLA. The Trojans did exactly that in their 52-35 victory over the Bruins. Early in the second quarter UCLA led the game 14-10 as the Bruins offense was finding success moving the ball. However, the Trojans defense held UCLA’s offense in check as the USC offense ran off a 28-0 scoring run.

Kedon Slovis continued to impress with a career day against UCLA. The Freshman quarterback broke a school record for the most passing yards in one game with his 515 yards through the air. That record was previously held by Matt Barkley, who set the record with a 493 yards in 2012. Slovis also tossed 4 touchdown passes and threw no interceptions. This was the third consecutive game where Slovis threw for at least 400 yards and 4 touchdowns.

The USC wide receivers also had a field day against the UCLA secondary. Drake London, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Michael Pittman Jr, and Tyler Vaughns had over 100 yards receiving as the Bruins secondary had problems containing the passing game. Senior Michael Pittman had two touchdowns and continued to be Mr. Consistent as he played his final game inside the L.A. Coliseum. The Biletnikoff award semifinalist finished with 13 receptions for over 104 yards. The freshman Drake London also contributed once again receiving for a career high 142 yards and one touchdown pass. He also set up a Trojans touchdown ending drive late in the first quarter with a 46 yard reception to put them down at the 1. USC would regain the lead at 10-7. This would be the first time in program history that 4 wide receivers had 100 yards receiving in a single game.

UCLA v USC
Kedon Slovis threw for a school record 515 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Trojans offense explodes 643 yards in the win over UCLA.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Midway through the 3rd quarter the Bruins offense regained some momentum by scoring 14 unanswered to cut the lead down to 38-28. This came after the Trojans led 38-14 during the quarter where the game looked like it was going to get out of hand. Dorian Thompson-Robinson gave the Trojans fits with his scrambling ability and got it done through the air as well. The sophomore quarterback had 367 yards for 3 touchdowns and 1 interception himself. USC would grow the lead back to 17 with a Slovis to Vaughns 46 yard score. UCLA wouldn't go away as Thompson-Robinson hit Devin Asiasi for 21 yards. That would set up a Joshua Kelly touchdown run to make the score 45-35. The ensuing drive saw USC drive down the field to set up a Stephen Carr touchdown to put the Trojans up for good.

The defense held the Bruins run game in check. After running all over USC for a series high 289 yards and 3 touchdowns, Kelly only had 45 yards on 15 carries while Thompson-Robinson’s scrambling ability gave the Trojans fits as he had a team leading 65 yards on 16 carries. Both would have a rushing touchdown. The turnover battle was even at one peace. USC’s came from an Isaac Taylor-Stuart interception while the Bruin’s forced a Amon-Ra St. Brown fumble that was recovered by UCLA.

With the win USC finish the regular season with a 8-4 overall record and 6-2 Pac-12 record. They now await the result of Utah’s final two games to determine the Pac-12 south. Should the Utes drop a game to Arizona or Colorado then the Trojans will have a rematch with the No. 6 Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship game. Remember USC defeated Utah back on September 20th which gives the Trojans the tie breaker over the Utes in the Pac-12 south race. If Utah win out then the Trojans will prepare for their upcoming bowl game which will be announced in two weeks.

One also wonders if this was Clay Helton’s final game as the USC head coach. With all the rumblings about his job status, USC athletic director Mike Bohn stated that he will not rush to a decision. Could the win and turning help turning the Trojans season around be enough to save his job? Only time will tell.