Darnold vs. Rosen! The hype surrounding the fierce Crosstown Rivalry focused squarely on the two elite quarterbacks who finally faced off on Saturday, November 18th. The No.11 Trojans narrowly beat the UCLA Bruins, 28-23, at the Coliseum.
USC earned their 16th straight victory at the Coliseum. It was the 87th edition of the Crosstown Rivalry. The city of Los Angeles has a plethora of local teams facing off, i.e. the Dodgers vs. the Angels, or Lakers-Clippers.
Yet, the UCLA vs. USC rivalry is by far the most intense one we have. The fervor, the passion and the history all played a role on this gorgeous Saturday night.
The Sam Darnold/Josh Rosen battle was the most compelling storyline headed into the storied rivalry. Both schools, USC as well as UCLA are blessed with two star QB’s who will certainly be selected in the top 10 of the 2018 NFL Draft should either choose to declare for eligibility and leave early.
Josh Rosen posted better individual stats, 32 of 52, 421 yards and 3 touchdown passes, however, it wasn’t enough for the Bruins.
Darnold threw for 264 yards and ran for a TD for his second W against the Bruins. The Victory Bell belongs to the Trojans for a third straight year, the PAC-12 South Champion improved to 10-2 on the season. Ronald Jones was outstanding, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.
The games first score was a bizarre punt return for USC, UCLA’s Special Teams completely misjudged the ball. Michael Pittman JR. wisely trapped the ball, and raced 72-yards to make it 7-0, USC.
The Bruins responded with a TD pass to Wide Receiver Jordan Lasley to even the score. Lasley had a career night, hauling in three TDs in the loss.
The Bruins wasted opportunities in the Red Zone cost UCLA the victory. Rosen threw an interception in the end zone, he also lost a fumble after being pummeled by an USC lineman deep in Trojans territory.
Compound that with a missed field goal and a touchdown called back on a clipping penalty.
UCLA drops to 5-6, the Bruins haven’t won a game away from the Rose Bowl all season long. The Bruins were resilient in defeat, nearly earning the massive upset.
The following day, UCLA fired Head Coach Jim Mora. In his six years, he posted a record of 46-30. The Bruins under his leadership won the 2013 and 2014 Alamo Bowl. Mora brought the school back to national prominence with help from Brett Hundley and Josh Rosen.
The Bruin revolution he promised was neither answered or fulfilled, he never won the PAC-12 Conference, his team was hobbled by penalties and turnovers.
The final straw was his third loss in a row to USC, after defeating the Trojans his first three seasons. Making a coaching change is never easy, but it’s an especially difficult decision when you know that a coach has given his all to our university,” said Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero Guerrero in a statement on Sunday.
“Jim helped re-establish our football program and was instrumental in so many ways in moving the program forward. While his first four seasons at UCLA were very successful, the past two seasons have not met expectations. We thank Jim and his family for his service to our school and his unquestionable commitment to our student-athletes.”
Their final game is on Black Friday, November 24th, when UCLA hosts the University of Cal Berkeley. On the line, the winner will be bowl eligible with six victories.
The 11th ranked Trojans will have a brief respite before hitting the gridiron in the PAC-12 Championship on Friday. December 1. The game will be held at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara.
Amazingly, no team from the Southern Region has won the PAC-12 Title. The game was the most entertaining, thrilling installments of the Crosstown Rivalry in years.
Rams Stifled By The Minnesota Vikings, 24-7
LOS ANGELES- The Los Angeles Rams are having a remarkable season thus far. Cynics wonder: How remarkable? Well, the Los Angeles Rams got a dose of reality on Sunday, November 19th. The Vikings led by former Rams QB Case Keenum crushed the Rams, 24-7.
It was built as a playoff matchup of two NFC up and comers, both teams with identical records at 7-2. The Rams were unable to rush Keenum the entire afternoon
Keenum, who went 4-5 as the starter last season with the Rams before being replaced by Goff, threw for 280 yards a TD pass in the victory.
“I know these opportunities don’t come along very often. I’m not going to sit around and worry and wait and try to figure things out,” Keenum said. “That’s not fair to the rest of my team if I do that because I’m not at my best if I’m using a percentage of my mind and worrying about other things.”
The game went horribly awry when Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp was stripped a mere yard from the end zone. The Vikings recovered the loose ball, had Kupp got the TD, it would have given the Rams a 14-7 lead.
On offense, Running Back Todd Gurley struggled with only 56 yards from scrimmage. In addition, Goff was ineffective as the ferocious Vikings D was ready to clobber him into the turf.
The Rams fall to 7-3 on the season. Still holding a one-game lead in the NFC West over the Seattle Seahawks. Although the Rams failed their first of three tests against NFC playoff caliber teams.
The next exam is Sunday, November 26th. As the Rams host the smoldering New Orleans Saints, riding an eight-game winning streak. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:25 P.M. at the Coliseum. With Drew Brees and co. It Will likely feature tons of points and fun.
Please end the Thanksgiving weekend watching the seemingly overnight en vogue Los Angeles Rams. The Rams last made the playoffs in 2004, so help end the drought, proving what a great sports market the City of Angels has!
DTLA Weekly prediction: Rams 38 Saints 35.