LOS ANGELES—Although the UCLA season has crumbled, with a disappointing 4-6 record, redemption can be attained Saturday night, as the 86th installment of the Crosstown Rivalry against the No. 13 USC Trojans, when they visit the Rose Bowl at 7:30 p.m. It is predicted to be a striking, crisp fall night- perfect football weather.
Starting out 2016 as a top 25 team, the Bruins season quickly spiraled out of control; a slow painful demise with a series of devastating losses by 10 points or less. Adding insult to injury, Bruins star Quarterback Josh Rosen’s season was ended by a shoulder injury, suffered at Arizona State, prompting surgery.
The Bruins snapped their four game skid against Oregon State, 38-24 on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. They must win their final two games of the season, in order to be bowl eligible and finish off with a .500 record. Should the Bruins fall to USC or the following week at Cal, it would be their first losing season since 2011.
The Bruins are facing a dangerous and explosive USC Trojans team, who have rebounded from a 1-3 beginning, to win their last six games. Enter True Freshman Quarterback, Sam Darnold, who has spearheaded the Trojans resurgence. He has thrown for 2,161 yards, and 22 TD’s, with USC riding the momentum of a victory over the No. 4 ranked Washington Huskies this past Saturday in Seattle.
Old Town Pasadena is also caught up in the hype leading up to kickoff. On Monday, November 14, Dog Haus Biergarten hosted their second annual Rivalry Week Challenge. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dog Haus donated 20 percent of each respective school receipts to their scholarship fund.
USC stands at 7-3, with an outside shot of winning the PAC-12 South crown, if Colorado and Utah both lose, the Trojans would play in the PAC-12 Championship on December 2.
Although UCLA is a 12-point underdog, the fans are called upon to be as deafeningly loud as the Victory Bell tolls. The Victory Bell is at stake, and needs to be sand brushed it’s rightful,“True Blue,” color. The Bell is painted red after the Trojans broke the Bruins three-game winning streak last year with a decisive 40-21 loss at the Coliseum.
USC leads the series, 45-31-7, and the home field advantage is vital since the Bruins have been victorious at the Rose Bowl in 2012 and 2014.
How does UCLA pull off this monumental, Presidential-Sized upset (too soon)?
It comes down to the best defense in the PAC-12, allowing only 195 passing yards, and only 160 yards rushing yards per game. Linebacker Jayon Brown and Defensive End, Tak McKinley must put the heat, a mauling pass rush on ‘SC Quarterback Darnold on every down.
“Our guys take care of the little things, meaning their disciplined and prepare the same way every time they go out on the field,” said UCLA Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley. Bradley was hired on February 23, 2015 and has transformed the Bruins defense, making the D- their calling card. In Bruins history, that hasn’t occurred too often.
McKinley is having a phenomenal year, 10 sacks and a whopping 46 tackles for loss. Both universities are guarding their mascot due to previous vandalism. USC has duct taped Tommy Trojan, camera’s watching them 24 hours a day. While at Westwood, the Bruins placed their beloved Bruin Bear in a large brown box, reading: The Bear Is Hibernating
The history and majesty of the Rose Bowl Is never taken for granted, neither by player or coach.
“I don’t think there is a better setting, iconic like Yankees Stadium, or Wembley Fantastic venue, and the history when you think about all the players and games,” said Bradley.
The game will air on ESPN, and coincidentally, the game falls on UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora’s 55th birthday. He has endured harsh criticism all season, some warranted, some not. Mora has beat the Trojans three out of four times, and a fourth win over the Men of Troy would be a fantastic birthday gift!