Inside the locker room: UCLA

November, 18, 2012
11/18/12
5:00
AM PT
Pasadena, Calif. -- Notes, quotes and anecdotes from the Rose Bowl after the Trojans' (7-4, 5-4 Pac-12) 38-28 loss to UCLA (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12).

USC coach Lane Kiffin comments:

Respect the victors: "Obviously a lot of credit goes to Jim [Mora] and his staff. His players played great today and the quarterback [Brett Hundley] played awesome. He didn't make any mistakes and did a really job."

On the disappointing season: "I think the No. 1 glaring thing in our losses has been turnovers. We haven't gotten many and we've had way too many. I would point to, in the season in general, our losses, penalties and turnovers. Unfortunately we had too many turnovers today."

UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr. comments:

On Matt Barkley's first interception at the game's outset: "It was huge. When you kickoff to a team like USC on that first drive, you are hopeful you can get a three-and-out at least. You are hopeful they don't take the ball and run it right down your throat and ruin all that emotion you came out of the tunnel with. But to be able to get that interception and convert it into points was big."

On the Trojans staying in a zone on defensive for as long as they did: "Monte Kiffin is one of the great defensive minds to have coached this game. He knows how to mix it up. Our guys just made some plays. We protected well and made some tough catches."

More notes and anecdotes

Confirmation: Despite some initial media confusion after Saturday's Trojans loss, USC athletic director Pat Haden confirmed after the game that Lane Kiffin would return for the 2013 season. A source said that Haden told Kiffin the news prior to the UCLA game.

Key to victory: On the first play of the game, Barkley was intercepted by UCLA corner Aaron Hester at the USC 31-yard line. Moments later, Hundley scored from 1 yard out, and the Bruins never looked back.

The meat wagon: After the game, Barkley's right arm appeared to be in a sling underneath his jacket. His left arm was visible in his jacket's left sleeve, and when asked about his injury, he commented, "We don't talk about injuries." Barkley was injured late in the game on a vicious blindside hit by Bruins outside linebacker Anthony Barr.

The offensive scoring average: The Trojans scored 28 points against UCLA.
Prior to the game with the Bruins, the Trojans were averaging 36.9 points per game.

[+] EnlargeBrett Hundley
Harry How/Getty ImagesUSC players and coaches were extremely complimentary of UCLA freshman QB Brett Hundley.
Momentum swing: Trojans defensive tackle George Uko recovered a fumble in the Bruins' end zone early in the third quarter. Regarding the score, the sophomore said, "I just saw it squish and said, 'Please don't fumble it. Just secure the ball.' I thought with the score we'd turn it around."

Rush to defend: Prior to the UCLA game, the Trojans' defense was allowing a net total of 148.3 yards rushing per game. Against the Bruins, the Trojans allowed 172 rushing yards.

Analysis: Trojans strong safety T.J. McDonald said, "We thought [Hundley] would be a little shaky as a freshman in this environment, but UCLA executed their plan on offense very well. It hurts and we have to learn from it. We just have to move on to the next game."

It's offensive: Prior to the UCLA game, the Trojans were averaging 462.9 yards per game on offense. Against the Bruins, the Trojans had 513 total yards on offense.

The future: Said Marqise Lee: "Our season comes down to spoiling Notre Dame's season."

Rush to judgment: Prior to the UCLA game, the Trojans were averaging 159.3 yards per game rushing. Against the Bruins, the Trojans rushed for 172 net yards.

Land grab: Trojans senior tailback Curtis McNeal, who had a team-high 161 yards rushing, said, "UCLA came out with a lot of juice and a lot of fire. What this [USC] team needs is a W. We didn't get the results we wanted, and next week against Notre Dame it's more about getting a win. Beating Notre Dame won’t change our season, but it will be about the W."

The defensive scoring average: The Trojans' defense allowed 38 points to UCLA. Prior to the Bruins game, the Trojans were allowing 23.5 points per game.

Attendance: The count was 83,277, short of Rose Bowl capacity (91,136).

Getting defensive: Prior to the UCLA game, the Trojans were allowing an average of 390.8 total yards on defense. Against the Bruins, the Men of Troy allowed 406 total yards.

Monte moments: Regarding the UCLA offense and Hundley, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said, "We had great blitzes dialed up, but we didn't get off on third down. We needed to win more third downs. [Hundley] is going to be really really good. He has a presence about him that he can feel the pressure and step away from it. We just have to cover better when we blitz."

Pass defense: Prior to the UCLA game, the Trojans were allowing 242.5 passing yards per game. Against the Bruins, the Trojans allowed 234 yards.

Tackling the issue: The Trojans' defense was led by linebacker Hayes Pullard with 11 tackles, followed by defensive tackle Leonard Williams with 10 tackles.

Weather report: The Trojans are now 0-3 when it rains during a significant portion of a USC/UCLA game.

Passing fancy: Prior to the UCLA game, the Trojans were averaging 303.6 passing yards per game. Against the Bruins, the Trojans passed for a total of 341 yards.

Flag time improvement: Prior to the UCLA game, the Trojans were averaging 73.2 penalty yards per game. Against the Bruins, the Trojans were penalized six times for 51 yards.

Up next: The Trojans return home next Saturday for their final regular-season game against undefeated Notre Dame at the Coliseum. Kickoff time is 5 p.m. PST.

Greg Katz | email

Columnist, WeAreSC.com

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