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UCLA football holds 11-point lead over crosstown rival USC at halftime

Junior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for 129 yards and three touchdowns in the first half of UCLA football’s contest against crosstown rival No. 15 USC. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)

By Jared Tay

Dec. 12, 2020 6:30 p.m.

The last time the Bruins faced the Trojans at the Rose Bowl in 2018, Dorian Thompson-Robinson looked on – for a majority of the time – from the sidelines. 

But in the 90th meeting between the historical crosstown rivals, the junior quarterback has led UCLA football (3-2) to a 21-10 lead over No. 15 USC (4-0). On 14-of-16 passing for 129 yards, Thompson-Robinson tossed three touchdown passes to put the Bruins ahead by 11 points at the half. 

Thompson-Robinson capped off his first half of play with a 12-yard touchdown toss to redshirt senior running back Demetric Felton on a swing pass, putting an exclamation point on a Bruin drive that had started with just over three minutes to play in the second quarter. 

The Bruin signal-caller had a hand in the other two UCLA scores of the half, the first coming on its second drive of the game. After finding redshirt sophomore tight end Greg Dulcich for a 14-yard completion over the middle of the field, the Bruins opted for their hurry-up offense, leaving the Trojans struggling to get set on defense. 

At 3:05 in the first quarter, Thompson-Robinson swung a pass out to redshirt senior wide receiver Ethan Fernea, who strided in for the Bruins’ first score of the game. 

UCLA struck again midway through the second quarter, as Thompson-Robinson again found Felton, this time for a 21-yard completion that gave Felton his first touchdown of the game and put the Bruins up 14-0 with eight minutes to play. 

USC didn’t stay quiet on offense for long though, as after the Felton touchdown, Trojan quarterback Kedon Slovis found wide receiver Drake London for a 65-yard touchdown – the longest scoring play for the Trojans to this point in the season. 

The Bruin defense has held its own, however, giving up just that one touchdown to London and one field goal late in the second half after a Thompson-Robinson interception. Against the No. 31 ranked scoring offense in the nation, the Bruins have limited their crosstown rivals to 10 first-half points, while redshirt junior defensive back Quentin Lake has logged one interception and one pass break up. 

Last year, the Bruin offense gave up 515 yards of offense through the air, and 643 yards overall. The story is much different in 2020, as the Trojans have logged 203 yards of total offense and have failed to log an offensive drive of more than 30 yards on four of its six drives. 

The Bruins will receive the second-half kickoff. 

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Jared Tay | Sports senior staff
Tay is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the men's basketball beat. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the baseball, men's soccer, men's tennis, cross country and women's tennis beats. Tay was previously a contributor on the men's tennis beat.
Tay is currently a Sports senior staff writer on the men's basketball beat. He was previously an assistant Sports editor for the baseball, men's soccer, men's tennis, cross country and women's tennis beats. Tay was previously a contributor on the men's tennis beat.
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