Sunday, April 22

UCLA ready to tackle USC in Pac-10 rivalry

Bruins look to end 3-year losing streak to Trojans, including shutout last year

After three years of losing to USC, UCLA football head coach Bob
Toledo has a little more sympathy for the Trojans’ eight
straight losses from 1991-1998.

“Now I know how bad it must have been,” Toledo said.
“We’ve lost three, and I don’t like it at all. It
will turn again sometime, hopefully this year.”

The No. 24 Bruins (7-3, 4-2 Pac-10) are coming off a bye week
while the No. 7 Trojans (8-2, 6-1) decisively defeated Arizona
State (7-5, 4-3) on Saturday, 34-13.

“This rivalry is different because we are so close. We
have to live with each other 365 days a year,” said Toledo,
who has lived with Trojan bragging rights for 1,091 days.

“I think the proximity of the two schools (makes the
rivalry unique). People working together. People that are married.
One’s a Bruin, one’s a Trojan. We’ve had players
room together: Keyshawn Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabar.”

This year USC-UCLA is the premier rivalry game in the Pac-10
with USC in second place in the conference and UCLA in third.

“We’ve won a couple in a row, and we are riding
high,” senior tight end Mike Seidman said.

Given the humiliating nature of last year’s 27-0 shutout,
the Bruins might have more pride at stake.

“I want to go out with a win against my rival. It’s
a thorn in my foot,” Seidman added. “Last year is a bad

But the consequences for the Trojans are a bit more dramatic.
Should USC defeat UCLA and Notre Dame, it has a long shot at the
BCS national championship.

“It’s a big, big game,” Toledo said. “It
is so exciting. You come down that tunnel, and people are yelling
and screaming, and the end zones are filled. When the end zones are
filled at pre-game warmups, you know the rest of the stadium is
going to be full.”

Quarterback challenge: True freshman Drew Olson will start, but
Toledo said fellow freshman Matt Moore will likely play as well at
quarterback for UCLA this Saturday. Both will be challenged by a
USC defense that ranks second in the Pac-10 in every category,
allowing only 298.2 yards per game.

“Pete (Carroll) does a great job at scheming and putting
guys in different positions to keep you off balance,” Toledo

“The quarterbacks will have a hard time with doing some
things. They will get pressured, get hit, and get sacked. We just
gotta hope they don’t do anything to beat us,” he

The game plan will be simpler than it would be if senior
quarterback Cory Paus were playing, but Toledo is still

“It’s not like we’ll have our hands tied. We
will try to give the quarterback an opportunity to make some

No Bowl for Bears: The Cal (6-5, 3-4) appeal of its one-year
bowl ban failed yesterday, but the NCAA restored nine scholarships
it revoked after finding academic fraud and other infractions in

Consequently, even if UCLA loses its next two games and Cal
beats Stanford and then UCLA to end up in a two- or three-way tie
for fourth, the Bruins are still guaranteed a bowl bid. Cal is
currently in a four-way tie for fifth place in the Pac-10.

Sugar and Spice: Toledo had nothing but nice things to say about
the Trojans at Monday’s press conference. After declaring
last week that this is the best USC team he has coached against
during his tenure in Westwood, Toledo had praise for individuals as

The UCLA head coach was particularly impressed with Trojan
freshman wide receiver Mike Williams, who leads the Trojans with
93.1 yards per game.

“He should declare for the NFL draft,” Toledo said.
“I’ll ante up a little money to get him

No bulletin board material here.

Injury Report: UCLA true freshman C.J. Niusulu had an
appendicitis attack yesterday and was rushed into surgery. He will
miss the remainder of the season because of the injury. Senior Saia
Makakaufaki will move from tight end to defensive tackle to provide
the Bruins with extra depth on the defensive line.

Junior defensive tackle Rodney Leisle is questionable for the

“If he’s not ready to play, I’m not going to
play him,” Toledo said.

Junior wide receiver Ryan Smith (ankle) is also probably

Bonfires and BonBons: On-campus rivalry week activities include
tonight’s bonfire and rally at 9:30 p.m. at Wilson Plaza (at
the bottom of the Janss steps). There will be a blood drive
Wednesday in the James West Alumni Center followed by “Bruin
Night Out” in Westwood. There will also be events in Westwood
Plaza on Thursday and Friday.

The Westwood Bruin Touchdown Club’s “Beat $C
Breakfast” with defensive line coach Don Johnson, quarterback
coach John Pearce and UCLA football players and cheerleaders is
Friday morning at 7 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel on Wilshire
Boulevard. It is $25, $20 with a UCLA student ID. For information,
call Claudia Hart at (310) 348-UCLA.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.