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December 5, 2010
Same old song for UCLA
PASADENA, Calif.(AP) Allen Bradford ran for 212 yards and caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barkley in the fourth quarter, and Southern California wrapped up its first season under NCAA sanctions with a 28-14 victory over UCLA on Saturday night.
Barkley passed for 198 yards and Malcolm Smith returned a fumble 68 yards for a touchdown for the Trojans (8-5, 5-4 Pac-10), who beat their crosstown rivals for the 11th time in 12 meetings, including four straight.
Bradford capped a spectacular finale to his up-and-down career with a 73-yard TD run with 3:31 to play, churning through the heart of UCLA's defense. The Trojans celebrated with their band and thousands of fans in the south end of the Rose Bowl, where they played in four straight postseason games before last season.
"It's great, especially to go out," Smith said. "This is our last game. It's good for our soul. It is our bowl game. We didn't have an opportunity to be in a bowl. This is the best we could do, and I'm glad we got the victory."
USC won't appear in the postseason for the first time since 2000 while serving the first year of a two-season bowl ban. Despite NCAA sanctions, several transfers and an inconsistent season featuring back-to-back disappointing losses to Oregon State and Notre Dame in the past two weeks, the Trojans tied with Washington in third place in the Pac-10.
Johnathan Franklin rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown for the Bruins (4-8, 2-7), who closed their disappointing third season under coach Rick Neuheisel with six losses in their last seven games. Joseph Fauria caught a 10-yard TD pass with 23 seconds left, but UCLA lost three straight to close the season.
"It's a difficult, bitter game for us," Neuheisel said. "We certainly had chances, plenty of opportunities."
In the final Pac-10 game before the conference adds Utah and Colorado next season, USC kept the Victory Bell in the rivals' 80th meeting - one that turned violent before the teams arrived at the Rose Bowl.
Most fans and players were unaware of a brawl three hours before kickoff involving dozens of early arriving fans in an outer parking lot. Two men were stabbed during the altercation, and two people were arrested for investigation of attempted murder.
The blue-on-red clash of both teams' home jerseys was just about the only attractive thing in a disjointed, turnover-plagued game between two struggling programs wrapping up a decidedly down year for football in Los Angeles. For just the fourth time in 35 years, neither team is headed to the postseason, and both schools were unranked in the meeting for the first time since 2000.
USC's offense awoke from two awful weeks with 474 yards in the return of Barkley, just two weeks after the sophomore got a high ankle sprain in the Trojans' loss at Oregon State.
Freshman tailback Dillon Baxter also threw a first-quarter touchdown pass to tight end Rhett Ellison.
"We beat the Bruins, and I got to complete a pass for a touchdown," Baxter said. "I thought it was a great game all around."
But Bradford dominated in just his fourth start of a season spent largely out of favor with first-year head coach Lane Kiffin. He put the Trojans in control with 11:17 to play, catching a short pass from Barkley and rolling down the USC sideline into the end zone, aided by a key block from fullback Stanley Havili.
After UCLA's Taylor Embree couldn't hang onto a pass from Richard Brehaut in the corner of the end zone on fourth down with 4:25 to play, Bradford wrapped it up with his TD run directly at the USC band.
Brehaut's 230 yards passing were the second-most by a quarterback this season for UCLA, which ranked among the FBS' worst passing teams all year long. Embree had seven catches - also the second-most by a Bruins player this year - for 76 yards.
USC still hasn't ended a season with a three-game skid since 1992, and hasn't lost three straight at any point since 2001.