LOS ANGELES, CA (News4usonline) – There were not too many bright moments for the UCLA Bruins (4-7 overall, 4-4 Pac-12 Conference) in their crosstown football game with rival USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. But there were enough of good plays from the Bruins to carry over until their regular season finale against Cal on Nov. 30.
Those good moments for UCLA head coach Chip Kelly and the Bruins came from the offensive side of the ball.
The Bruins scored 35 points against the Trojans. Unfortunately, USC stacked up 52 of their own points to easily win this annual rivalry game 52-35. For the moment, let’s put the negative on the backburner to focus on what the Bruins did right against their city rivals.
Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson had a whale of a game against the Trojans, throwing for 367 yards and three touchdowns. Thompson-Robinson also scooted for 64 yards on the ground and totaled 431 yards for the game against USC. It was one heck of a performance by Thompson-Robinson, who had a big assist from wide receiver Kyle Philips.
Philips caught 12 of Thompson-Robinson’s 26 completed passes for 123 yards. Kelly gave high praise for how his quarterback and wide receiver were able to work their chemistry against the Trojans.
“That was part of the game plan going in,” Kelly said. “Part of their plan was going to be devoting an extra guy in the box to stop Josh (Kelley) and the run, so if they were going to do that, we thought that matchup with Kyle in the slot was beneficial to us and somewhere we could attack them. That’s a credit to Kyle and Dorian and the work they did during the week and how they responded. Kyle did a great job and I think Dorian had his best day throwing the football.”
Philips, a redshirt freshman, talked about his connection on the field with Thompson-Robinson.
“It definitely helps a lot to have more confidence in each other and have that connection. We have a lot of confidence we can move the ball down the field,” Philips said. “He (Thompson-Robinson) was definitely playing hard for our team. He wasn’t running out of bounds, was playing through contact and getting extra yards for us, extending our drives, and being a really good teammate.”
As great as Kelly’s offense played, his defensive unit could not get it done against USC. In the process of dropping 52 points on the UCLA defense, the Trojans gained 643 yards of total offense. The Bruins also allowed USC to generate 34 first downs and saw Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis pass for 515 yards and four touchdowns in their seventh defeat of the season.
“We played against a really good QB today,” Kelly said. “They have a lot of weapons and it’s really difficult to defend them. There’s not just one receiver to watch. Give Kedon Slovis credit, he did a good job against us. Then a couple of those injuries that occurred at the linebacker spot, where our numbers are really thin, hurt us. We just had to make do with what we had. SC’s a good football team, they’re a good offensive team and we didn’t have an answer for them today.”
Besides surrendering a big day to Slovis, the UCLA defense allowed USC to have four wide receivers post 100 yards or more in pass receptions for the game. Bruins defensive back Elisha Guidry said it was a tough task to stop.
“We knew they had a lot of weapons, so we tried to work hard this week on doing the little things in our coverages and just working on our looks and staying on guys,” Guidry said. “They had a good game and we just need to continue to improve.”