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Sunday, November 29, 2009
USC rubs it in against UCLA

By Ted Miller

It wasn't pretty, but USC did what it needed to do to beat UCLA 28-7, a victory that is sweeter considering the Trojans recent travails.

Heck, the Trojans even scored a gratuitous touchdown to rub it in at the end with a 48-yard pass, which should only serve to further embitter the rivalry.

The benches briefly cleared as UCLA -- not without justification -- seemed irritated by the best throw of the night from Matt Barkley.

Was it a class moment for Pete Carroll?

No.

But this sort of thing apparently is what the cool kids are doing now -- see Stanford's Jim Harbaugh going for two with a 27-point lead late in its win over the Trojans.

The difference was simple: Turnovers. UCLA had four. USC one. The Trojans first score came on an interception return. Their second on a 29-yard drive following another Kevin Prince interception.

The Bruins, with Kevin Craft coming off the bench at quarterback, made a late move, cutting the Trojans advantage to 14-7 with 5:41 left on a drive in which they twice converted on fourth down.

But USC answered with a 73-yard touchdown drive. UCLA got the ball back with 1:30 left, but turned the ball over on downs. And then USC threw a bomb.

UCLA finishes its season 6-6 overall and 3-6 in the Pac-10. The Bruins are bowl-eligible, but must hope that they can fill an at-large spot for a bowl game that can't fulfill its contracts. It appears that the Humanitarian Bowl is interested.

USC improves to 8-3 and 5-3. It plays host to Arizona on Saturday. If the Trojans win, they likely will go to the Holiday Bowl.