UCLA: J.J. Stokes

AP Photo/Eric Draper
J.J. Stokes never lost to USC during his time as one of UCLA's top wide receivers in the early 1990s.

J.J. Stokes made many highlights during his four seasons as a UCLA wide receiver and had his share of moments in the UCLA-USC rivalry games, but the one that stands out most is one in which he wasn’t even on the field.

Stokes was on the sideline near the end of the 1993 crosstown showdown, watching the Bruins' defense make a classic stand and witnessing Marvin Goodwin's interception that preserved a 27-21 victory.

It stands out above the others, Stokes said, because it was for more than bragging rights that season. The winner would go to the Rose Bowl.

And when you are a UCLA football player the only feeling better than winning against USC is winning against USC when the Rose Bowl is on the line.

"That definitely stands out as one of my most vivid memories," Stokes said. "Every year you want to beat them, but the fact that the Rose Bowl is on the line makes it more special. To be able to walk on the field with the roses in your mouth like you saw as a little kid — that was even sweeter."

The year before against USC, Stokes had 263 yards receiving and three touchdowns as UCLA made a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback to defeat USC, 38-31. He still holds school records for receiving touchdowns in a season and a career and receptions in a game and season.

He’s also part of the first UCLA class that went their entire careers without losing to USC and his freshman year in 1991, UCLA began an eight-game win streak against USC—to this day the longest win streak in the history of the rivalry.

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UCLA rivalry moment No. 3: Barnes walks on into history

December, 1, 2010

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John Barnes cemented his legacy in UCLA lore with an amazing fourth-quarter performance against USC in 1992.

When John Barnes first approached Terry Donahue about walking on to the Bruins football team in 1992, he wore a suit.

Donahue asked why and Barnes replied, “Because first impressions are lasting impressions.”

Little did Barnes know, his final impression would far outlast that first one.

Barnes authored one of the most improbable moments in the history of the UCLA-USC rivalry, directing a 21-point fourth quarter rally in the 1992 game that gave the Bruins a 38-37 victory.

UCLA trailed, 31-17, entering the fourth quarter, but Barnes, who began that season as the fifth-string quarterback, hit J.J. Stokes on a 29-yard touchdown that brought UCLA to within seven at 31-24 with 12:49 to play and later connected with Stokes on a 59-yard pass to set up a tying touchdown with 7:06 to play.

The Bruins defense held, forced a punt and gave Barnes the ball at the Bruins four-yard line. Two running plays set up a third and four from the 10, and what happened next cemented Barnes’ spot in UCLA lore.

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