USC Football Hosts Crosstown Rival UCLA With Rose Bowl On Line
Nov. 25, 2007
It's the 77th game of the famous crosstown rivalry and there's a LOT at stake for the No. 8/9 Trojans and the Bruins. Not only is USC going after an unprecedented sixth consecutive Pac-10 title, but a win would earn Troy its 32nd Rose Bowl berth. A UCLA victory (coupled with an Arizona State loss to Arizona later on Saturday) would send the Bruins to Pasadena. It's the 36th Trojan-Bruin game in which the Rose Bowl has been on the line for at least 1 of the schools. Also at stake are year-long city bragging rights, possession of the Victory Bell and key points in the Lexus Gauntlet standings. And USC head coach Pete Carroll, the nation's winningest active coach, is going after his 75th Trojan victory. USC is looking for payback after being upset by UCLA last year, a defeat that kept the Trojans out of the BCS Championship Game and broke Troy's 7-game winning streak over the Bruins. It's the last home game for USC's seniors. USC is coming off a Thanksgiving road shellacking over then No. 7 Arizona State. This is the 77th consecutive game that the Trojans, winners in 72 of their last 81 games, have been in the AP Top 25. QB John David Booty, who is in the school's career Top 6 in passing and total offense, had perhaps his best outing of 2007 in his last game (4 TDs, 375 yards). TBs Chauncey Washington, who is approaching the 1,000-yard rushing barrier in 2007 and is 25th on the school's prestigious career rushing list, and exciting Joe McKnight have propelled USC's running game. TE Fred Davis, a Mackey Award semifinalist, leads the nation's tight ends in yards per catch and needs just 1 catch to equal the school's career receptions record for tight ends. He and WR Patrick Turner are in USC's career receiving Top 25. USC's defense--the Pac-10's best--remains the club's strength, as statistically the Trojans are in the national Top 10 in every category (including second in total defense). It features All-American DT Sedrick Ellis (a semifinalist for the 2007 Bednarik Award and Lott Trophy) and DE Lawrence Jackson (he set USC game records with 5.5 tackles for a loss and 4 sacks at Arizona State) on the line, the nation's premier linebacking corps led by All-American candidate LB Keith Rivers and a secondary with CB Terrell Thomas, S Taylor Mays and S Kevin Ellison. After getting off to a promising start in 2007, coach Karl Dorrell's UCLA squad lost 3 consecutive games before shutting out Oregon at home last weekend. Injuries have played a major factor in the Bruins' season, with QBs Ben Olson and Patrick Cowan and TBs Kahlil Bell and Chris Markey all having been sidelined to various degrees. UCLA's defense, behind the likes of DE Bruce Davis (who has 37.5 career tackles for loss and 26.5 career sacks), LB Christian Taylor, FS Dennis Keyes and SS Chris Horton, is particularly tough against the run (allowing an average of just 105 yards on the ground). S Matthew Slater has returned 3 kickoffs for TDs this season and PK Kai Forbath is among the nation's top field goal kickers. The game, which is sold out for the sixth straight year, will be shown live nationally on ABC-TV.