Dorian Thompson Robinson sprinted through the Coliseum’s end zone in the second quarter. He looked up and saw a young man wearing Southern California gear, holding out a UCLA cap and a pen.
He signed an autograph impromptu to celebrate his touchdown on a day where the Bruins’ quarterback was taking advantage of every opportunity.
Thompson-Robinson stated, “When a child just hands you a pen and a hat, it’s a sign that you have to accept.” It’s second nature to grab the item. I was glad to make that kid’s day.”
That’s the signature win of fourth-year quarterback, and his Bruins. They are now emphatically in control again at Los Angeles’ crosstown contest.
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Thompson-Robinson rushed for four scores and ran for 349 yards. On Saturday, UCLA won the Victory Bell by 62 to 33 over USC.
Kazmeir Alden caught two touchdowns and returned a kickoff for 100 yards to score another point in the Bruins’ highest scoring performance (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12), in 91 editions.
Kyle Philips caught 2 TD passes for UCLA, beating the Trojans in 2018. The Trojans won the Coliseum only the second time since 1997. With 62 points, the Bruins tied the record for most allowed by USC in its long and storied history of football.
Thompson-Robinson stated, “It’s everything.” “They were a bit rough on us the first two times that we played. To really put up a fight and take that victory on their turf this time is something very special.”
The Bruins romped with a wealth of big offensive plays — including 11 that went more than 20 yards, a record under coach Chip Kelly — mostly created by Thompson-Robinson, who beat the Trojans as a starter for the first time in his four-year UCLA career with an afternoon of brilliance.
Thompson-Robinson capped his victory by another moment of catharsis on his second TD drive with just 3:47 left to go. He gracefully hurdled a USC tackler on the way in, much to his teammates’ utter delight.
“We should have expected it, ‘cause he’s always trying to hurdle someone, you know?” Philips said. Philips said, “But then he actually cleared him. The whole sideline went insane just ’cause it finally happened. We’ve been waiting for it to happen. He’s been trying so long.”
Thompson-Robinson made a comeback after throwing interceptions on two of his first passes, going 16 for 22. In his career so far, he has only five 300-yard passes. Three of them were against USC.
Although he regretted his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his unplanned autograph session, Thompson-Robinson epitomized this celebratory afternoon for a program that’s finally seeing some modest fruits from its high-profile investment in Kelly nearly four years ago. UCLA will be playing in its first bowl match since 2017. This win is sure to have an impact on alumni as well as recruiting.
“We’re about finishing off, being resilient, and that’s the thing that I’m most impressed with today, regardless of how many points were on the board,” Kelly said.
Jaxson Dart passed for 325 yards with two interceptions in the freshman’s debut start for USC (4-6, 3-5), which has lost four of five in the final weeks of interim coach Donte Williams’ tenure.
Dart said, “I felt like I missed some things, and I was unable to come out on top with a win.” He went 27 for 47.
Vavae Malpeai was able to rush for a career high three touchdowns. Gary Bryant Jr. had nine receptions for 161 yards, and a score. But USC’s defense allowed 609 total yards for the Trojans’ fourth defeat in five games at Coliseum.
Brett Neilon from USC said, “It seems like the same old story everytime but we are just not playing together.” It’s frustrating, because it seems like we could do this. The pieces are there and we have the talent. It’s almost like we are banging our heads on the wall.”
KEEN ON ALLEN
In addition to Thompson-Robinson’s great play, the Bruins also got an amazing breakout game from Allen. Allen is a running back/receiver combination who had previously only 13 receptions in his previous season and just two TDs.
UCLA had lost 3-0 before it was able to score its first touchdown with a 45-yard catch from Allen. USC also failed to lay a hand on Allen midway through the second quarter on his 58-yard TD catch — and he returned a kickoff for another thrilling score late in the third quarter when USC had trimmed the Bruins’ deficit to nine points.
UCLA: In beating their archrivals with an exciting team that now has a chance at an upper-tier bowl game, the Bruins are finally where many fans feel they should have been in 2018 — the year Kelly was hired. Although that’s enough for Kelly to be granted a contract extension, UCLA still needs two wins to continue its momentum.
USC: USC might have made a mistake by playing 2 1/2 years without a permanent coach. After falling to this low only four times over the last 20 years, the Trojans are now in their fourth consecutive six-loss year. For the Trojans to avoid their second seven-loss campaign since 2000, they must win 2-0 at BYU and California.
UCLA hosts Cal Saturday Night.
USC will host BYU at USC on Saturday evening.