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A final battle for the Victory bell? Reviewing the Trojans and Bruins battle



In a final Pac-12 meeting in the epic rivalry between the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins before the teams jump to the Big 10, both teams enter unranked for the first time in recent history. Will this be Caleb Williams' final battle for the Victory Bell? Will USC get back to winning against their cross-town rival UCLA Bruins? Can Ethan Garbers slay the giant and get a win against the Trojans? Let's dig into the game and review what happened.


Caleb Williams entered the season on a bullet train of hype as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and sought to be only the second ever to win the award twice. The season has been a disappointment, to say the least as the Trojans entered the game 7-4 and 5-3 in conference. A regular-season finale and win against the cross-town rival Bruins could help give the Trojans momentum heading into bowl season. For the Bruins, the season has definitely not gone as planned with Chip Kelly feeling the heat turned up on his tenure. A win against the Trojans could help cool the temperature at UCLA.

Williams played well in the game finishing with 384 yards and a touchdown completing 31 of 42 passes on the day. He found 10 different receivers on the day and showed all the tools needed to be great at the next level with solid arm strength and accuracy placing the ball where he knew his receivers had the best chance at making the play. On the other side of the field, Garbers didn't put up the numbers that Williams had, only finishing with 155 yards, however, he did connect for three touchdowns on the day. He showed flashes, finding his receivers as needed. Most importantly, he didn't turn the ball over finishing with no interceptions or fumbles, while Williams did throw one on the day.


The rushing game was a tale of two worlds, the Trojans struggled at best to run the ball all game while the Bruins were led by sophomore TJ Harden who had a career day with 142 yards and a score on 22 attempts. On the Trojans side, Marshawn Lloyd led the way with a pedestrian 17 yards rushing as the Bruins effectively shut down the run game of the Trojans. Most importantly, the Bruins did not commit any turnovers, while Marshawn Lloyd did fumble once. Although Williams found 10 different receivers, he found the most success connecting with Brenden Rice for 147 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. For the Bruins, while Logan Loya led the team with 60 yards on nine receptions, Harden and tight end Hudson Habermehl succeded in finding the end zone with three scores between the pair.

The defensive battle between the two was a heavyweight bout between Laiatu Latu and Jaylin Smith and it didn't disappoint. Both players sought out the ball carrier with Latu recording seven tackles and two sacks and Smith recording six tackles and a sack respectively. The Bruins effectively eliminated the running game of the Trojans and were able to limit Williams' ability to adlib and scramble to make plays with his feet. The pressure campaign proved effective in helping the Bruins efforts to win the Victory Bell.


With the 38-20 win, the Bruins captured the Victory Bell and improved to 7-4 overall and 4-4 in conference. They finish the regular season against the Cal Bears in an effort to continue winning as they head into bowl season. For the Trojans, the loss ended their regular season with disappointment. Falling to 7-5 overall and 5-4 in the conference. In a season filled with National Title hopes and hype, it feels like a letdown in what could very likely be Caleb Williams' final game with the Trojans.


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