Trojans Shut Out Bruins, 27-0
Nov 17, 2001
LOS ANGELES - The Southern California Trojans concluded a month-longresurgence with a victory over UCLA, while the Bruins continued their downwardspiral.
Carson Palmer threw for 180 yards and a touchdown, and the Trojans' defensesmothered No. 20 UCLA in a 27-0 victory Saturday.
Defeating their crosstown rivals for the third consecutive year, the Trojans(6-5, 5-3 Pac-10) assured themselves a bowl berth as they bounced back from a1-4 start under first-year coach Pete Carroll.
'To start 1-4 and to finish well is big,' Palmer said. 'To beat UCLA, whohad been talking about the Rose Bowl (the national title game), is huge. We canend up 7-5, where no one thought we could be.'
Carroll, former coach of the NFL's New York Jets and New England Patriots,was delighted with his team's second-half surge and victory over UCLA. Afterthe game, he stood on the band director's stand in front of the Trojans'student section, smiling and waving.
'It went through my mind is that this doesn't happen in the NFL. It hadnothing to do with UCLA, it had to do with us,' the elated Carroll said.'We've got to be the best 6-5 team in the nation.'
The Bruins, beset by off-the-field distractions swirling around tailbackDeShaun Foster and quarterback Cory Paus, lost their fourth straight after a6-0 start. The Bruins (6-4, 3-4) were No. 4 nationally less than a month ago.
'This is a trying time for the players and coaches,' UCLA coach Bob Toledosaid.
Southern Cal's fourth consecutive victory locked up fifth place in thePac-10, with the Trojans likely playing in the Las Vegas Bowl. UCLA, which hasa regular-season game remaining against Arizona State on Dec. 1, will beeligible for a bid from an independent bowl.
The Trojans limited UCLA to 114 yards of offense, while their offense had276 yards.
'Defense won this game,' Palmer said. 'I'm not surprised we shut themdown. You could tell up front that they (the Bruins) weren't very hungry.'
Toledo said, 'We were totally inept.'
USC cornerback Antuan Simmons returned an interception off Paus for onetouchdown. Safety Troy Polamalu blocked a punt to set up a field goal andintercepted another of Paus' throws to put the Trojans in position for atouchdown.
Palmer went 14-of-23, including a 4-yard scoring pass to Keary Colbert, withone interception for the Trojans, who scored two touchdowns in the firstquarter and were up 17-0 by halftime.
Paus was 7-of-15 for 45 yards, with two interceptions, and was sacked fivetimes during his three quarters in the game.
The Bruins mounted just one serious scoring threat the entire contest, inthe fourth quarter. But the Trojans' Kevin Arbert snuffed that by interceptingScott McEwan's pass at the USC 2.
The Bruins played their second game without Foster, a senior declaredineligible for the rest of the season for receiving an extra benefit, aviolation of NCAA rules. The Pac-10's top rusher and a leading Heisman Trophycandidate earlier this season, Foster initially was declared ineligible Nov. 7.The NCAA ruled Friday that Foster could not play any more for the Bruins.
He was punished for driving a new sport-utility vehicle - leased byactor-director Eric Laneuville - for several weeks.
Paus was allowed to start against the Trojans despite a revelation Thursdaythat he had pleaded no contest to a drunken driving charge stemming from hisarrest this summer. The fourth-year junior is scheduled to serve four days injail after this season. Toledo said he was unaware of the case until Thursday.
It was Paus' second alcohol-related arrest, he was also arrested March 5 oflast year for investigation of driving under the influence and later wasconvicted of a lesser charge of reckless driving.
Paus, who said he hadn't told his coach about his arrest because he thoughtit 'would be a detriment to the team and I thought we were in a good positionto go a long ways this year.'
'I put myself in the situation, it is all my fault,' the fourth-yearjunior said, adding that he didn't think his troubles had an impact on theteam.
Toledo said, 'I felt OK about my decision to play Cory, and I felt our teamwas ready to play in spite of what happened. But we just didn't get the playswe needed at the right time.'
By KEN PETERS
AP Sports Writer