USC Football Hosts Crosstown Rival UCLA In Series' 75th Game

Nov. 27, 2005

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It's 'Championship Saturday,' so it must be time for the 75th game of the famous crosstown rivalry between top-ranked, 2-time defending national champion USC and No. 11 UCLA. A USC win would give the Trojans the Pac-10 title outright (they have clinched a school-record-tying fourth in a row) and propel Troy--already a lock for the Fiesta Bowl (and a fourth straight BCS bowl trip)--into the Rose Bowl for its second consecutive BCS Championship Game. It's the 35th Trojan-Bruin game in which the Rose Bowl has been on the line for at least 1 of the schools (but the first time it has happened since 1993). But it's only the second meeting ever between an undefeated USC team and a 1-loss Bruin squad, and just the third time when there has been only 1 loss between the teams. The winner earns year-long city bragging rights, plus possession of the Victory Bell and key points in the Lexus Gauntlet competition. USC, which owns a 6-game winning streak over UCLA (a Trojan best in the series), is trying to extend a number of Pac-10-record winning streaks: 33 overall games, 26 home games, 22 Pac-10 games and 18 Pac-10 home games. Troy, which has been ranked No. 1 in a national-record 32 straight AP polls, also is riding an NCAA record 15-game winning streak over AP Top 25 teams. The Bruins have never beaten a No. 1 USC team and only once downed an undefeated USC club. Troy has fared well against UCLA teams coming off a bye. USC is trying to sweep traditional foes UCLA and Notre Dame for an unprecedented fourth consecutive season. It's the last home game for USC's seniors. Head coach Pete Carroll's Trojans are rested after getting a bye following their hard-fought win over Fresno State. USC sports a potent Pac-10 record-setting offense--its 571 total yards and 49 points per game rank first and second in the NCAA, respectively--that features a 3,000-yard passer in 2004 Heisman Trophy-winning QB Matt Leinart (an O'Brien Award finalist and only USC's second 3-time All-American ), a pair of 1,000-yard runners in 2-time All-American TB Reggie Bush (2005's leading Heisman candidate and a Doak Walker Award finalist who is coming off a monster 513-yard Pac-10 record outing) and bruising TB LenDale White, and a 1,000-yard receiver in All-American and Biletnikoff Award finalist WR Dwayne Jarrett (and fellow WR Steve Smith needs just 100 yards to also hit the 1,000-yard mark). The veteran offensive line is anchored by All-American OG Taitusi Lutui. Troy's defense, which tops the nation in turnover margin at nearly +2 per game, is led by S Darnell Bing, DEs Lawrence Jackson and Frostee Rucker and LB Oscar Lua. UCLA actually is coming off a double bye, last playing on Nov. 12 (a key win over Arizona State). UCLA's explosive offense is reminiscent of USC's, featuring one of the nation's top quarterbacks (Drew Olson), a pair of dangerous runners (Maurice Drew, who also is a big factor in the return game, and Chris Markey) and some talented pass catchers (including TE Marcedes Lewis). LB Spencer Havner ranks among the best in the collegiate ranks. UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell has experienced this intracity rivalry as a player and a coach. The game, which will be shown live nationally on ABC-TV, is sold out (setting school records for home and overall sellouts in a season). ESPN's College GameDay pre-game show will be on site. There will be a pre-game Navy jet flyover. It's Mike Garrett Day, saluting USC's 1965 Heisman Trophy winner and current athletic director. Chuck O'Donnell will be making his last ride on Traveler. The USC men's basketball team, under new coach Tim Floyd, hosts BYU that evening, while the Women of Troy volleyball team hosts an NCAA second round match that night.

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