Rivalry Game – The Day After

LOS ANGELES — Vavae Malepeai rushed for three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough as USC football fell to rival UCLA, 62-33.

It was Malepeai’s first three-touchdown game of his five-year career at USC. The redshirt senior captain had not scored during the first eight games of the season and rushed for just 257 total yards heading into Saturday.

The Trojans suffered their first home loss to the Bruins at United Airlines Field at L.A. Coliseum since 2013. USC (4-6, 3-5 Pac-12) must win its final two games — at home next week against Brigham Young and the Dec. 4 postponed contest at California — to earn bowl eligibility.

True freshman Jaxson Dart was 27-for-47 and finished with 325 passing yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in his first career start. Head coach Donte Williams named Dart the starter on Monday and revealed incumbent Kedon Slovis would be out with a leg injury.

Gary Bryant Jr., who became USC’s No. 1 receiver after Drake London was ruled out or the season with an ankle injury, caught nine passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. Keaontay Ingram rushed for 96 yards on 17 carries.

The Trojans took a 3-0 lead with Alex Stadthaus’ field goal after USC marched 63 yards on the game’s opening drive. The next three possessions saw two interceptions from Dorian Thompson-Robinson and a pick by Dart.

UCLA scored on its first of many big-yardage plays on a 45-yard touchdown pass. The Trojans responded with Malepeai’s first rushing touchdown on a seven-yard run to take a 10-7 lead.

The Bruins pummeled the Trojans with a 21-0 run, highlighted by Thompson-Robinson’s 23-yard and 58-yard touchdown passes. USC’s offense was stagnant for much of the second quarter until the Trojans drove 67 yards on eight plays that ended with Malepeai’s second touchdown.

After conceding a touchdown to open the second half, the Trojans tried to rally with Stadthaus’ 23-yard field goal and Dart’s 44-yard scoring pass to Bryant Jr. to cut the deficit to 35-26.

UCLA quelled USC’s effort with a 100-yard kickoff and cruised with three other touchdowns to put the game out of reach.

The Trojans play their home finale next week against BYU on Senior Night, next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN

Credit: USC Athletic Department

 

LOS ANGELES — As Jaxson Dart sat down at the podium, the streak of black down his right eye smeared, sweaty hair hanging in his face, there was no trace of satisfaction on his face for having made his first career start. Just the bitterness of USC’s 62-33 defeat to UCLA hardening his features.

There was little to feel good about from the Trojans’ effort, and Dart’s performance was a mixed bag to evaluate, too.

From a statistical standpoint, Dart had a pedestrian game. He completed 57.4% of his passes for 325 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He moved the USC offense for 484 total yards, though, and five scores in five red-zone attempts. The Trojans did settle for field goals twice, a familiar trend for USC this season.

“I feel like I missed a lot. Wasn’t able to do enough to come out with the win,” Dart said. “I felt like I honestly didn’t make too many bad reads. I felt like I could see the field pretty well. Just missed some things here or there.”

Dart was not helped by the numerous drops by his receivers, including three in third-down situations in the first half. And he had little time to operate in the pocket with the pressure UCLA dialed up against the Trojans’ beleaguered offensive line.

But it was clear that Dart wasn’t playing at the same level as he was prior to his meniscus surgery in September. He wasn’t his typical dual-threat self, being sacked three times and accounting for negative-25 rushing yards.

And early in the game, he didn’t look comfortable with down-field throws. His only completion of more than 20 yards in the first half came on a throw behind the line of scrimmage to Keaontay Ingram that the running back took for 32 yards. One of his first attempts was tipped up and intercepted by UCLA after Dart threw into tight coverage.

But it seemed like his comfort level increased as the game went on. In the third quarter, Dart connected with Gary Bryant Jr. for passes of 28, 44 and 37 yards. The pair linked up for another 33-yard completion in the fourth.

“He played great, took shots, that’s who he is,” Bryant said. “I like the way he played and I look forward to seeing him later on.”

Added offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, “I think he did a whole lot of good things. The one pick in the red zone, I think he’d like to have back. Other than that, there were some freshman mistakes, sure, but he did a lot of good things. And even the first pick, trying to make a play, it’s third-and-long, he’ll learn from that one.”

With Kedon Slovis’ timeline to return from a lower leg injury still up in the air, Dart reiterated the message of building off this start.

“I’m gonna make the adjustments I need to and fix them so we can come back and come out victorious the next one,” he said.

Adam Grosbard: Orange County Register

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Allen Wallace
Mt Rushmore
Allen Wallace(@super2719)
November 21, 2021 8:56 pm

It’s hard to believe Todd Orlando turned out so poorly:

Nathan Ackerman — “After Saturday’s 62-33 humiliation courtesy of the Bruins, the Trojans have now allowed a staggering 32.2 points and 417.8 yards per game this season.

“Somehow, that’s even worse than what Clancy Pendergast did in 2019 (you know, the year that ended with his firing). In other words, when you take a 100-pound pile of manure and proceed to add even more shovels worth of excrement to the heap, suffice it to say it smells pretty bad…”

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uscannenbergmedia.com

TMC4USC
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TMC4USC(@tmc4usc)
November 21, 2021 7:16 pm

When I climbed onto the flight home from Honolulu yesterday, it was halftime and the 28-17 score was not surprising. 5 hours later upon landing I could not believe that USC surrendered 62 points to Westwood Tech. I would have fired Todd Orlando right after the whistle blew. Ucla couldn’t score 62 on most JC teams let alone the vast majority of FCS and FBS teams. I take solace in the fact that in Justin Herbert’s freshman year at Oregon, USC pasted the Ducks. He paid them back. Dart needs to let this fuel the rest of his career against… Read more »

Allen Wallace
Mt Rushmore
Allen Wallace(@super2719)
November 21, 2021 7:34 pm
Reply to  TMC4USC

Dart needs the best Xmas present a young hotshot QB could ever want, a fantastic HC.

BTW, congrats on 76,000!

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan(@san-diego-trojan)
November 21, 2021 11:19 am

Just saw that Florida canned Dan Mullin after one bad season. So many great jobs that have opened that are competing for the same candidates we are. The best are going to have their choice, and I’m sure where they would like to live and resources are going to make the difference. Florida is a plum job. I wonder if the quick trigger at schools like LSU and Florida will scare away coaches already secure at their current locations. Pro assistant coaches included

Allen Wallace
Mt Rushmore
Allen Wallace(@super2719)
November 21, 2021 11:22 am

It’s a giant race now to nab the best available HCs with lots of big-time programs looking for a savior. Hopefully, USC was able to take advantage of firing The Cat so early in the season.

UtahTrojan
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UtahTrojan(@utahtrojan)
November 21, 2021 1:36 pm

Each of the openings have their pros and cons. Anything in the SEC has proven that they will pull the trigger very quickly. Plus you will always be dealing with Alabama and Georgia.

Allen Wallace
Mt Rushmore
Allen Wallace(@super2719)
November 21, 2021 11:18 am

AP Rank Team Record Points (No. 1 votes) 1 Georgia 11-0 1,550 (62) 2 Alabama. 10-1 1,450 3 Ohio State 10-1 1,428 4 Cincinnati11-01,3885 Notre Dame 10-1 1,258 6 Michigan 10-1 1,250 7 Oklahoma State 10-11,210 8 Ole Miss 9-2 1,049 9 Oklahoma 10-1 1,010 10 Baylor 9-2 97711 Oregon 9-2 864 12 Iowa 9-2 722 13 Michigan State 9-2 698 14 Texas A&M 8-3 68315 BYU 9-2 675 16 Houston 10-1 572 17 Pitt 9-2 507 18 Wisconsin 8-3 48519 Utah 8-3 478 20 UTSA 11-0 475 21 Wake Forest 9-2 404 22 San Diego State 10-1 257 23… Read more »

Allen Wallace
Mt Rushmore
Allen Wallace(@super2719)
November 21, 2021 11:29 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

UTAH destroys ORE 38-7 and is #19 while ORE is #11. CFB ranking craziness, as we see every week!

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 21, 2021 12:56 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I don’t take any stock in the AP or Coaches, they make no sense. I don’t think many of the voters in each even take time to think about their votes

UtahTrojan
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UtahTrojan(@utahtrojan)
November 21, 2021 1:38 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

True, but BYU handled Utah pretty easily too.

Allen Wallace
Mt Rushmore
Allen Wallace(@super2719)
November 21, 2021 1:47 pm
Reply to  UtahTrojan

I think head-to-head battles should be weighted much more significantly, especially when they are total blow-outs, and very recent.

alfa1
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alfa1(@alfa1)
November 21, 2021 2:37 pm
Reply to  UtahTrojan

Yes, but they had to stay on their toes to beat Georgia Southern last night

UtahTrojan
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UtahTrojan(@utahtrojan)
November 21, 2021 4:44 pm
Reply to  alfa1

Probably because Helton on the sideline was confusing them.

Allen Wallace
Mt Rushmore
Allen Wallace(@super2719)
November 21, 2021 11:05 am

I just returned from my Leo Carillo camping adventure. Big winds all night and this morning got us up and out earlier than expected.

No wifi reception to be found but I was able to watch the historic beatdown from the Bruins on TV at Kristy’s Grill and Bar in Malibu. Great seats and nobody else was even remotely interested in the game. Just as well. It wasn’t pretty, was it?

HOF19
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HOF19(@hof19)
November 21, 2021 9:29 am

You know who might also be rooting for SC to get a real GAME-CHANGER as a head coach (But they will NEVER admit to this)…..The people who run this Pac-12 Conference…..(And Oregon’s performance may have added to this ). If SC can get a real game-changer at head coach and return SC to (at least ) a YEAR-IN-YEAR-OUT top 15 program that will….for sure….Also help the Pac-12 …….Fight On !!!!!

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 21, 2021 8:11 am

My picks for top 7

  1. Georgia
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio State
  4. Michigan
  5. Cincinnati
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Oklahoma State

I can see Michigan jumping Cinci to go to 4 this week but what happens after Ohio State-Michigan? If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, they could take over the 4 spot left open by the loser of OSU-UM. The Playoff committee will keep dissing Cinci. They have hit the ceiling. Baylor will go no higher than 8 or 9. Giving SC a shot at either Fickell or Aranda.

Rushmore
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Rushmore(@rushmore)
November 21, 2021 8:07 am

Is it lousy coaching? Is it lack of big time quality players both on offense and defense? Methinks both. The implosion has occurred. The salvaging and rebuilding won’t be easy. But for ten million dollars a year I will come out of retirement. 😉

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 21, 2021 8:14 am
Reply to  Rushmore

How sick must the Michigan State President and AD feel today with their new $10 million man as head coach?

Chris
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Chris(@chris)
November 21, 2021 6:59 am

Yesterday was the first time in my life that I just quit watching mid game. I knew what was coming , we all did. We’ve seen this game 5 times already this year. There is no need to analyze, watch film, or talk through what changes can be made, it will not happen. The only thing that matters is the new coach and staff. leave nothing of this team.

rleeholder1
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rleeholder1(@rleeholder1)
November 21, 2021 6:23 am

In my 56 years of watching/attending USC Football Games, I’ve never seen a Trojan Defense as bad as this one, especially at home games. I questioned the hire of Orlando when he was brought on board after being fired from Texas. Heck, Tony Orlando could do a better job than Todd!

usc50
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usc50(@usc50)
November 21, 2021 6:41 am
Reply to  rleeholder1

Saw this happening after Stanford loss. Can’t blame Donte for this. He was thrown into this mess without any experience. Don’t think a real big name coach is going to want to leave their successful situation to come here. So wouldn’t spend a lot of time chasing them and going into another Helton situation with no choice. But would have to at least make an offer to them. A successful coach that wants to move up like Matt Campbell would be best bet. NFL coach ok. PC was NFL coach. Hopefully, AD Bohn is smart enough to have things thought… Read more »

danielmcd1
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danielmcd1(@danielmcd1)
November 21, 2021 6:13 am

Next year I want to see USC have the type of running attack that I saw the SF 49ers use against the Rams last Monday night. That was running at a high level. Pulling guards, tackles, traps, using fullbacks, TE to block. That was the type of running we used to use and need to again. On defense, NEVER let anyone get behind you. You always keep a safety playing centerfield. They taught us that in 7th grade. Our DC let UCLA score with no safety. Damn! Get some speed and tackling skills on defense. Wrap up, use your whole… Read more »

Steveg
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Mt Rushmore
Steveg(@steveg)
November 21, 2021 4:29 am

He sounds like Helton, going to come back next time after adjustments. I wonder if this is what we get in Dart, is it any better than Slovis? I didn’t see any mobility beyond what we already had. So many dropped passes made me realize just how good London is, and how weak most of our receivers are. This season can be layed at the feet of our coordinators, Harrell and Orlando. Neither one has developed the players or theirs “systems” from beyond last year. If anything they have backslid. Glad this season is just about over. The team needs… Read more »