PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -The goal at Southern California is the same every year: Win the Pac-10 championship and play in the
The Trojans always aspire to be national champions as well, but for the fourth year in a row, the Rose Bowl will just have
to do after beating UCLA 28-7 Saturday.
passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns, USC's hard-hitting defense stuffed UCLA at every turn, and the fifth-ranked Trojans
won their ninth in 10 games between the crosstown rivals.
The win assured USC (11-1, 8-1 Pac-10) of an unprecedented seventh consecutive BCS bid, seven straight 11-win seasons and
seven conference championships in a row. They'll make a fourth straight appearance in the Rose Bowl game, against No. 6 Penn
''We did a good job,'' USC linebacker
said. ''It's great to be Pac-10 champs again. It upsets me a little that two one-loss teams will go to the BCS championship
game and we'll be left out. But we will just have to see what happens.''
UCLA stunned USC 13-9 as a 13 1/2-point underdog two years ago at the Rose Bowl, bouncing the Trojans out of the BCS championship
game. The 33-point underdog Bruins (4-8, 3-6) inspired hopes for a repeat performance by taking a 7-0 lead in the opening
four minutes of this game, but they were unable to pose a scoring threat after that, crossing midfield just once.
''To beat our rival team in their house, it feels awesome,'' said Sanchez, who completed 18 of 33 passes with one interception.
''I'm definitely going to have fun tonight, celebrating with friends and family. It's just unfortunate that we won't be in
the national championship game.''
For some USC players, playing in Pasadena on New Year's Day is just fine.
''It feels real good to continue the tradition of playing in another Rose Bowl. It's always the thrill of a lifetime,'' tailback
''It's like a home game for us,'' wide receiver
said. ''We love representing the whole city.''
The Trojans rolled up 33 first downs and 478 yards of total offense while the Bruins had just seven first downs and gained
only 157 yards against the national leader in total defense and scoring defense.
''I thought we had a terrific football season,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ''I'm really proud of the consistency. I'm proud
that we kept the program on top of the conference. Defense was the key today.''
It's been that way all season. The Trojans held nine of their 12 opponents to 10 points or less and outscored the opposition
342-56 in winning their last nine games after a 27-21 loss at Oregon State.
completed 11 of 28 passes for 89 yards with one interception, and
rushed for 36 yards on 14 carries.
''I thought our team played very hard and hung around,'' first-year UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. ''Unfortunately, some
penalties and some things were happening with special teams that hadn't happened all year long and reared their heads in the
''We'll get better. I see us with a year of time to develop our program with all the pieces in place.''
The Bruins lost eight games for the first time since 1963, when they went 2-8.
''Little things seemed to mess it up,'' Craft said. ''We should be better next year, when everybody comes back. We know what
we must to do get better. Everyone can hardly wait to come back.''
For the first time in 26 years, both teams wore home jerseys in their annual matchup. That meant cardinal red for the visiting
Trojans and powder blue for the host Bruins.
They both played their home games at the Coliseum until UCLA moved to the Rose Bowl in 1982, and the NCAA passed a rule the
following year that would penalize teams one timeout if they didn't wear their proper home and road jerseys. So the Bruins
wore white at the Coliseum in 1983, and the visitors did the same ever next year at the Rose Bowl.
USC was penalized a timeout after the opening kickoff, and UCLA voluntarily took its first timeout immediately thereafter,
as Neuheisel had promised. The timeouts prompted a large cheer from the Rose Bowl crowd of 87,790.
After UCLA went three-and-out, C.J. Gable fumbled on USC's first scrimmage play and
recovered at the Trojans' 20. Two running plays lost a yard before
threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Bell, giving the Bruins their early lead. Craft tossed a backward pass to Johnson before
the sophomore wide receiver was successful on the first pass of his career.
''That was a huge deal,'' Neuheisel said. ''We had the play for the entire year. The play is actually called Tennessee because
it was put in for the Tennessee game. We used it today, it worked, got us off to a good start. It was exciting.''
The Bruins rallied for a 27-24 overtime victory over the Volunteers to open the season.
USC quickly moved into UCLA territory on a 20-yard pass from Sanchez to Turner and a roughing-the-passer penalty, but
was wide right on a 41-yard field goal, the first of three misses for a kicker who went 8-of-9 in the first 11 games of the
The Trojans tied the game on their third possession, scoring on a 12-yard run by
, who gained 99 yards on 15 carries.
That was just the beginning for USC.
Sanchez threw a 12-yard scoring pass to
before the first quarter was over. Helped by a roughing the kicker penalty against
, the Trojans moved 70 yards on 16 plays for a 21-7 lead, scoring on a 2-yard run by Johnson with 1:55 left before halftime.
USC needed just 2 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to extend its lead to 28-7, scoring on an 18-yard pass from Sanchez to
Turner to cap a 66-yard drive following the second-half kickoff.
''It feels good to get in the end zone in my last game of the regular season,'' said Turner, a senior who caught five passes
for 81 yards. ''It's a beautiful thing.''