Trojans’ Buehler kicks himself

Staff Reports

David Buehler suffered through the worst game of his USC career, struggling with kickoffs in the first half and missing three field-goal tries.

Buehler began the game having made eight of nine field-goal tries, but he missed from 41 yards in the first quarter, 40 yards in the second and 40 yards in the third.

“Coming into my last [regular-season] game I was too pumped up,” said Buehler, a senior. “I blame myself because I did stuff differently.

“I tried to be better and do even better than I’ve been doing and it messed me up. I just have to go back to basics.”


Hard to figure

The name of that trick play UCLA used to score its touchdown?

“Tennessee” -- because, Coach Rick Neuheisel said, “it was put in for the Tennessee game.”

Added Neuheisel: “But we didn’t have the opportunity in that game to use it. So we used it today . . . It got us off to a good start.”

Advanced planning

As the UCLA players jogged toward their locker room after pregame warmups, Neuheisel remained behind, gathering a group of high school recruits near the 50-yard line.

Neuheisel proceeded to give a fiery speech, gesturing and pointing at USC, still warming up nearby.

“This can be our city,” he told the prospects. “If all of you decide to come here, we can challenge these guys across town.”


Life motto

UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft wore a shirt that read “No Regrets,” and it’s a rule he lives by.

“It means go out on the field and lay it on the line,” he said. “I gave it everything I had and I don’t have any regrets walking off the field.” Now, he said, “It’s time to put in the work this off-season so we don’t have any regrets again.”

Craft completed 11 passes, giving him 232 and moving him four past Troy Aikman and into second place on UCLA’s all-time single-season list. Aikman will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday.


Injury report

USC receiver Damian Williams suffered a separated right shoulder when he dived for a pass in the end zone in the second quarter.

Williams got to his feet and sprinted to the bench, where he collapsed in pain.

“I don’t like laying on the field, so I just took off to the sideline and let them figure it out,” Williams said.


Williams said he would be out no longer than two weeks and would play in the Rose Bowl game. . . .

UCLA safety Bret Lockett suffered a broken left forearm and linebacker Akeem Ayers a dislocated left thumb. Both will undergo surgery.

Odds and ends

UCLA receiver Terrence Austin had 76 all-purpose yards -- 33 receiving and 43 on kickoff returns -- to establish a school single-season record with 1,878, 15 more than Maurice Drew had in 2005. “That tells me I accomplished something,” Austin said. “A guy like him is big time.” . . .


UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter said he will fill out evaluation papers for the NFL but has not decided whether to declare for the draft. “I’m going to take them home and talk with my family and [defensive coordinator] DeWayne Walker,” Carter said. “I would like to know where I would be projected to go; that would be the first thing.” . . .

USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, who threw for two touchdowns, has passed for at least one score in all 15 of his starts, and has thrown for two touchdowns 12 times.


Times staff writers Gary Klein, David Wharton, Chris Foster, Mark Medina and Mike Hiserman contributed to this report.