USC Vs. UCLA Score, Takeaways: The no. 7 Trojans no. 16 keep playoff hopes alive by edging Bruins

No. 7 USC clinched its spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game and kept its College Football Playoff aspirations alive with an epic 48-45 victory over No. 16 UCLA. The Trojans racked up 649 yards and only punted once to rally from a 14-0 deficit against their crosstown rival in a big game for both programs.

A win would have kept UCLA’s hopes of reaching the Pac-12 title game intact, but the Bruins had no answer for USC’s formidable offense on senior night in the Rose Bowl. USC quarterback Caleb Williams threw for 470 yards and scores in both the air and the ground while out-dueling UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

In the final home game of his five-year career, Thompson-Robinson accounted for all six UCLA touchdowns — four throwing and two running — and led the Bruins to a 21-10 lead late in the first half. But he committed turnovers on three of UCLA’s next four possessions.

Ever the warrior, Thompson-Robinson played through some obvious pain and responded repeatedly to USC’s offense in the second half. But when the Bruins eventually grabbed a chance to tie or take the lead with 2:27 left on USC’s first punt of the game, another turnover killed their chances. Corey Foreman intercepted Thompson-Robinson with 1:26 left, allowing the Trojans to run out the clock and seal the win.

Here’s more footage from Saturday night’s rampage in Los Angeles.

Caleb Williams makes the Heisman case

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Strode looked relatively pedestrian An unmotivated success Saturday over Maryland. The Tennessee quarterback is Hendon Hooker Late injury On the failure of the Volunteer Bombardment in South Carolina. Michigan’s Blake Corum rushed for 100 yards again in the Wolverines’ narrow win over Illinois, but he The second half was limited due to injury. North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye threw for 200 yards against Georgia Tech … but the Tar Heels lost to the Yellow Jackets.

Overall, it wasn’t a great day for the Heisman Trophy frontrunners — except for Williams. The Oklahoma transfer has now thrown for 3,480 yards, 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions while leading the Trojans to a spot in the league title game. He will be tested against a solid Notre Dame defense next week in a game that will draw significant national attention, but a good performance there could propel Williams to the top of the Heisman odds sheet.

No. from the 2021 recruiting class. The No. 2-ranked quarterback showed flashes of brilliance as a true freshman for the Sooners last season, but he’s been more consistent this season. His performance on Saturday was especially heroic as USC’s leading rusher and emotional leader, Travis Dye, was sidelined with a season-ending injury last Friday against Colorado.

The Heisman is a season-long honor, but this year’s race is as wide-ranging as it’s been in a while. How rivals play later in the season will matter, and Williams appears at the right time.

Important transfers will come in large quantities

Trojans wideout Jordan Addison, the most scrutinized transfer of the offseason, delivered in a big spot for his team with 11 catches for 178 yards and a touchdown. The reigning Biletnikoff winner as the nation’s top receiver coming off a stellar season at Pitt last year, Addison proved impossible for the Bruins to defend. It was Addison’s first productive game since suffering a foot injury against Utah last month, and he showed why he’s been such a valuable addition.

Another transfer, again Austin Jones, was offered when called upon. The former Stanford tight end handled the increased workload effectively, finishing with 120 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Jones caught four passes for 57 yards, making him USC’s second-leading receiver on the night behind Addison.

CFP scenarios

No. 5 Tennessee fell out of the CFP picture with a 63-38 loss at South Carolina, and USC will move up at least one spot in the new CFP rankings Tuesday night. The win would be the best yet for the Trojans, giving them the no. 6 to give LSU a chance to outscore. The Tigers picked up two losses and did little to help their resume by defeating Conference USA foe UAB in week 12 in a conference game.

With No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan set to play next week, more carnage near the top of the rankings is inevitable. USC will get a crack at a quality Notre Dame team at home next week and then have a shot at further polishing its resume in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

It may have seemed like a long shot after the Trojans lost at Utah on Oct. 15 and fell to 6-1, but USC has a legitimate shot to make the CFP in Lincoln Riley’s first season as coach.

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