Victory Bell Remains With USC!
Nov. 18, 2000
PASADENA, Calif. - A season of disappointment for USCiforniatook a major turn Saturday.
In the wake of a newspaper report that the firing of coach Paul Hackettmight be imminent, USC overcame its own mistakes and several big plays by UCLAto beat the Bruins 38-35 on David Bell's 36-yard field goal with nine secondsremaining.
Bell, a senior, had missed his previous three attempts, including a24-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter.
Carson Palmer, who passed for 350 yards and a career-high four touchdownpasses, guided the Trojans from their 35 to the UCLA 18 with the help of a passinterference penalty before Bell nailed the game-winner.
The Trojans (5-6, 2-6 Pac-10), who have beaten UCLA twice in a row afterlosing eight straight games to the Bruins, finish the season against No. 11Notre Dame, their other big rival, next weekend.
Before the game, USC athletic director Mike Garrett refused comment on astory in the Orange County Register that said Hackett, who has two years lefton his contract, could be fired before the Notre Dame game.
The Bruins (6-5 3-5) are idle until they play in a bowl game next month,most likely the Aloha or Oahu in Hawaii.
Palmer, who completed 26 of 37 passes without being intercepted, threw a57-yarder to Steve Stevenson with 3:58 remaining to give the Trojans a 35-28lead - their first of the game.
But the Bruins, helped by a personal foul penalty, marched 75 yards to tieit, scoring on a 1-yard run by Cory Paus on fourth-and-goal with 1:05 to play.
Paus completed 13 of 22 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. FreddieMitchell caught four passes for 140 yards and one TD, and also threw for ascore. UCLA's DeShaun Foster was held to 43 yards on 20 carries, while USC'sSultan McCullough gained 105 yards on 26 carries.
The Bruins took a 28-21 lead early in the third quarter on a 4-yard passfrom Paus to Mitchell three plays after Drew Bennett gained 13 yards on a fakefield goal, but Palmer threw a 12-yard pass to Keary Colbert with 2:56 left inthe period to tie it.
USC dominated the first half, but the game was tied because of three bigplays by the Bruins.
The first came on the first scrimmage play, when, with USC at its 3, ChadPierson fumbled and the ball popped into the end zone, where Marques Andersonrecovered for a touchdown. It marked the first time UCLA has scored first thisseason.
After the Trojans tied the game on an 8-yard pass from Palmer to AntoineHarris, Mitchell teamed up with fellow wide receiver Brian Poli-Dixon on a45-yard scoring play. Mitchell has completed 5-of-6 passes in his career - fourfor touchdowns.
USC tied it early in the second quarter on a 6-yard run by McCullough.
UCLA went ahead on a 4-yard pass from Paus to Ed Ieremia-Stansbury threeplays after Paus and Mitchell teamed up on a 74-yard pass play on third-and-6 -the Bruins' only first down of the second period.
The Trojans tied it 21-all on a 39-yard pass from Palmer to Kareem Kellywith 24 seconds left in the half.
USC also blew two scoring opportunities in the second period. UCLA's RodneyLeisle recovered a fumble by Kelly at the Bruins' 27, and Matt Nickels gained 3yards when he needed 6 on a fake field- goal attempt from the Bruins' 19. Butthe Trojans won anyway.
The game was played before a crowd of 80,227 at the Rose Bowl. USC leads theseries 36-27-7.
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer