The 92nd edition of the UCLA-USC game was played Saturday at the Rose Bowl, with the Trojans eking out a 48-45 victory, assuring them of a spot in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game.
The Trojans are pursuing a longshot berth in the College Football Playoff. USC was seventh in the playoff rankings issued Tuesday. ESPN’s “Playoff Predictor” gave the Trojans a 7% chance of being among the four teams in the playoff, the eighth-highest chance among all teams.
USC came into the game a two- to 2 1/2-point favorite, depending on the oddsmaker. ESPN’s Football Power Index gave the Trojans a 60.3% chance of winning.
The Trojans was ranked seventh by The Associated Press, UCLA 16th. This was the first time in the series both teams had been ranked since 2014.
USC played without its leading rusher, Travis Dye, who suffered a season-ending leg injury when he was tackled during a 55-17 victory over Colorado on Nov. 11.
UCLA was a 62-33 winner last season in the highest-scoring game in the series. The 62 points were the most the Bruins scored against the Trojans and equaled the most USC allowed against any opponent.
The Trojans now lead the series, 50-33-7, not including victories in 2004 and 2005 that were vacated as part of the penalties issued by the NCAA for improper benefits accepted by star running back Reggie Bush and his family. USC is now 18-6 against UCLA since 1999, and 8-4 against them at the Rose Bowl.
Fox’s telecast began at 5 p.m., the first time the game between the crosstown rivals has been played at 5 p.m. or later since 2017 and 13th time in the series.
The game was sold out. Capacity for the game was increased to 70,865. The usual capacity for UCLA games at the Rose Bowl is 53,170. The stadium’s capacity is 91,136, according to UCLA Athletics’ website.
USC has again gained possession of the Victory Bell, a 295-pound bell that originally hung atop a Southern Pacific freight locomotive and was given to the UCLA Alumni Association in 1939. In 1941, it was taken by a group of USC students who hid it in a variety of locations for more than a year.
Following an intervention by school administrators, the student body presidents of both schools signed an agreement in 1942 providing that the winner of the football game would keep possession for the next year, a tradition that has continued, along with painting the bell’s carriage in the school color of the winner.
Hashmarks at the 1-, 15- and 41-yard lines were painted Virginia orange in memory of slain Cavaliers football players Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry. The players were shot to death on a charter bus returning to the university after a class field trip Sunday night.