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After stunning loss, it’s time for quiet reflection

Times Staff Writer

The usual bustle in Heritage Hall was absent Monday as USC football players began final exams and the athletic department continued to come to grips with the Trojans’ first loss to UCLA since 1998.

“You definitely think about what you could have done different,” junior nose tackle Sedrick Ellis said. “You go through the ‘shoulda-woulda-coulda,’ but when it comes down to it, they played a good game and won.”

USC coaches had the day off, but they will return today to meet with players for the first time since Saturday’s 13-9 defeat at the Rose Bowl. The Trojans lost an opportunity to play in the Bowl Championship Series title game and will instead play Michigan in the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day.

“You can’t go back and change it, so you just got to take it and move on,” running back Chauncey Washington said.

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Washington, who played sparingly against UCLA and was stopped for no gain twice in short-yardage situations, said he would rest and rehabilitate his injured left knee until the Trojans resume practice next week.

“It feels better.... I’m not sore,” he said. “I can actually pick my knee up and bend it.”

Washington, who missed the previous two seasons because he was academically ineligible, said he was in good academic standing and would take exams this week.

Fall semester grades will not affect players’ eligibility for the Rose Bowl because the game will be played on Jan. 1, a week before the start of spring semester classes. If the Trojans had advanced to the BCS title game, grades could potentially have become an issue for some players because the game will be played on Jan. 8, the first day of classes.

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USC was allotted 33,000 tickets for the Rose Bowl, according to Jim Muldoon, associate commissioner of the Pacific 10 Conference. The face value of the tickets is $135.

Late last month, USC sent bowl-game ticket applications to support group members and season-ticket holders with a deadline of last Thursday. Donors in support groups had the option of buying four to eight tickets, depending on the level of donation.

Season-ticket holders who are not members of specified support groups were eligible to enter a lottery to purchase two tickets.

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An athletic department official said about 3,000 tickets were set aside for a student lottery.

Muldoon said Michigan was allotted 27,000 tickets. Schools that do not sell their allotment generally make the unused portion available to the opposing school if they are needed.

The Pacific 10 and Big Ten Conference each get 350 tickets, Muldoon said. USC and UCLA each receive 750 tickets, the other Pac-10 schools 250, according to Muldoon.

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Among the most disappointed visitors at Heritage Hall was Fred Vogler, a sound designer for the Hollywood Bowl who this season provided USC with state-of-the-art crowd-noise simulations at scrimmages and during practices for road games.

The Trojans were penalized four times for false starts against the Bruins.

“I took every one of those personally,” Vogler said.

gary.klein@latimes.com

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