Commentary

The best of USC and UCLA

WeAreSC's panel goes down memory lane, recalling their favorite USC-UCLA moments

Updated: November 23, 2011, 11:36 AM ET
By Garry Paskwietz | We Are SC

LOS ANGELES -- The crosstown rivalry between USC and UCLA is a special one for all involved. So what are the memories that stand out the most. WeAreSC's panel discusses.

What is your favorite USC-UCLA memory?

Garry Paskwietz: 2001 -- USC 27, UCLA 0.

This will always be a great memory because of how unexpected it was. The Trojans entered the game at 5-5 in Pete Carroll's first year, while UCLA was on such a roll that there were even newspaper columnists who were declaring that Los Angeles was now a Bruins football town.

The Trojans jumped on UCLA from the start and didn't let up. By the time the fourth quarter came around, the Bruins weren't even fighting back, and USC coasted to the shutout win. It was the first real indication of something unique happening in the Carroll era, and it was the style of dominating win that would become a USC trademark in future years.

[+] EnlargeGary Beban
Darryl Norenberg/US PresswireUCLA quarterback Gary Beban, the 1967 Heisman Trophy winner, combined with 1968 winner O.J. Simpson in a classic USC-UCLA duel on Nov. 18, 1967.
Steve Bisheff: I know this is showing my age, but for me, there has never been a crosstown match to compare to the one in 1967. Everything was at stake -- the conference title, the Rose Bowl bid, the Heisman Trophy and the National Championship. It was almost too much to comprehend.

The amazing part was, the performances lived up to all the hype. To this day, I've never watched another game that had this kind of intensity, from start to finish. It was insane.

UCLA's Gary Beban and USC's O.J. Simpson were 1-2 in the Heisman race, and both performed spectacularly. Beban, playing with sore ribs, would have led the Bruins to victory if an erratic kicker named Zenon Andrusyshyn had made a couple of his routine field goal attempts. But the Trojans' defense hung in until Simpson's 64-yard run for the ages in the fourth quarter. By now everyone has seen the highlights. What everyone doesn't know is that it wasn't Simpson's finest run of the game. An earlier 13-yard burst, when he literally powered his way through the entire UCLA defense, breaking maybe six or seven tackles, was even more impressive.

Beban vs. Simpson. John McKay vs.Tommy Prothro. It was simply an unforgettable scene and a game that left you breathless at the final whistle.

Greg Katz: There is one memory that stands above all the rest, and it's not even close. To see it on video or in photographs doesn't even begin to do it justice. Folks, you had to see it live and in person at the Coliseum. It was O.J. Simpson's electrifying 64-yard, fourth-quarter scoring run in the 1967 game, the best game ever played in this rivalry, given what was at stake. The national championship, the Rose Bowl, the Heisman Trophy, and bragging rights, the game was overwhelming in its importance, and Simpson's run showcased the power, speed, grace, and timeliness worthy of such an historical event and moment.

Kyle Williams: My favorite USC-UCLA memory would have to be the 2004 game. We were heavily favored to win the game going in, but of course that doesn't mean a thing in this rivalry. UCLA did a good job throughout the game of slowing us down on offense, and although it's no excuse, UCLA did have three weeks to prepare for us because of back-to-back bye weeks. We were successful moving the ball but struggled when we got into the red zone. Our kicker, Ryan Killeen, kicked a conference single-game record five field goals, putting much-needed points on the board, because UCLA's offense was doing its part by outscoring us in the second half.

There was one point in the game where we told ourselves that we didn't want to go to the Rose Bowl again, because we had just played there the year before, and because the National Championship game was at the Orange Bowl. We also really wanted to go back to the Orange, because we had such a good time two years before when we played Iowa. Anyways, we ended up winning the game and sealing our place in the national championship game in Miami.

Garry Paskwietz | email

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