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Sunday, November 18, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: UCLA 38, USC 28

By Johnny Curren

LOS ANGELES -- A look at the positives and negatives from USC’s 38-28 loss to UCLA on Saturday.

THREE UP

1. Curtis McNeal McNeal carried the load for the Trojans for the second consecutive game at running back and was outstanding once again. Running with determination and focus, the redshirt senior racked up 161 yards on 21 carries and was one of the few real bright spots for USC.
Robert Woods
A productive Robert Woods was one of the few USC bright spots against UCLA.
2. USC wide receiver corps While Marqise Lee again led this unit statistically with nine receptions for 158 yards and one touchdown, it was the performance of Robert Woods that almost stole the show. Coming off a game against Arizona State that saw him collect just two receptions for negative-3 yards, he was back to his old self against the Bruins, hauling in five passes for 68 yards and making a grab on a two-point conversion. Freshman Nelson Agholor contributed three catches for 49 yards and one touchdown.

3. Leonard Williams Williams, just a freshman, was incredibly active against UCLA from his defensive tackle spot, making 10 tackles -- No. 2 on the team. In particular, he did a nice job penetrating the UCLA offensive backfield and applying pressure to quarterback Brett Hundley, collecting two tackles for loss and sack.

THREE DOWN

1. First-half start USC has had a knack of starting games on the wrong foot over the last month or so, and that trend continued on Saturday in a big way. On offense, Matt Barkley and his receivers were completely out of synch right from the opening snap, while the defense allowed Hundley and the UCLA offense to march down the field at will in the early portion of the first half, scoring on four-straight possessions.

2. Turnovers
A key component of the Trojans’ slow start, Barkley threw an interception on the opening play from scrimmage. A little later Lee gave the ball away on a fumble. The Bruins eventually turned both those turnovers into first-quarter touchdowns. Barkley threw another pick late in the contest with the USC offense driving in UCLA territory.

3. Special teams
John Baxter's USC special teams unit has certainly seen better days. UCLA's Eric Kendricks blocked a Kyle Negrete punt that the Bruins would eventually turn into seven points, while Andre Heidari missed a point after and was 0-for-2 on field goal attempts -- his last one was locked by Sheldon Price to seal the Bruins' victory.