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UCLA vs. USC: Bruins prevent Trojans from becoming bowl eligible with 34-27 win

The UCLA Bruins (3-8, 3-5 in Pac-12 Conference) used 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pick up the victory over the USC Trojans (5-6, 4-5) today at the Rose Bowl in the 88th edition of their rivalry game. The loss leaves USC still one win from becoming eligible for a bowl game. The Trojans’ regular-season finale is next Saturday against the third-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Coliseum. The Bruins conclude their first season under coach Chip Kelly with a Pac-12 game against Stanford next Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

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California fires: Paradise anxiously awaits rain and the dangers it might bring

Calvin Daley, 66, sat listening to jazz on his battery-powered radio on the front porch of his two-story home in the charred hills of Chico. Tiny birds hopped from the burned branches of a pine tree to a bird feeder.

Nearby, Pacific Gas and Electric crews repaired voltage lines, and other workers used an excavator to move aside hunks of melted metal that once were cars.

Daley didn’t evacuate. Instead, he hooked up three hoses, stationed them around his home and began dousing everything. Some people who stayed to fight for their homes died. He had at least three hours to work before the fire arrived with fury.

He had no goggles, no mask, just jeans, a T-shirt and hoses. Sometimes, the water evaporated before hitting its target.

His next-door neighbor’s home went up: “My heart sank; I couldn’t go over there and save it.”

Flames also claimed his wife’s ski boat and his 1987 Dodge Ram. Also incinerated was the nearby Honey Run covered bridge. By 10:30 p.m., the fire had moved on. Exhausted, Daley woke himself every hour or so to check on hot spots.

It was eerily quiet for three days, then the birds returned.

Next door, the neighbor’s cats had survived. He began feeding them.

As heavy rain approaches, he’s worried contaminants will run into his well. He also worries for people who have lost homes, for people living in tents. He wishes it were summer.

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UCLA stifles USC scoring drive to take 34-27 win over Trojans

USC came within 29 yards of the end zone but could not get past the UCLA defense in the final minutes of the game, allowing the Bruins to take a 34-27 win.

With 2 ½ minutes left on the clock, JT Daniels completed his first three passes for 33 yards to put the Trojans in UCLA territory. But his next three passes landed incomplete, as the Bruins defense shut down any last-minute comeback effort.

USC was 4-for-13 in third-down conversions, and both teams earned more than 400 total yards on offense

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UCLA extends lead to 34-27 with JJ Molson field goal

JJ Molson drilled a 48-yard field goal with 2:36 to play in the game, extending UCLA’s lead over USC to 34-27.

A USC possession with limited yardage left the Trojans’ punt landing in mid-field, so UCLA only needed a few gains to reach field goal range. Joshua Kelley rushed 21 yards in four carries to put the Bruins within distance, as USC kept the Bruins from approaching the red zone.

The field goal was UCLA’s second of the game, as the Bruins have held the Trojans scoreless in the fourth quarter to take a seven-point lead.

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UCLA takes 31-27 lead with JJ Molson’s 19-yard field goal

JJ Molson drilled his first field goal of the game, a 19-yard kick, giving UCLA a 31-27 lead over USC.

Wilton Speight completed two passes for 26 yards and a five-yard rush to get the Bruins in position to score. Joshua Kelley added a few short rushes, but the Trojans’ defense held the Bruins back from the end zone, forcing the field goal attempt.

Speight has completed 13 of 22 passes for 166 yards, with a touchdown and an interception, while Kelley earned 268 rushing yards in 36 carries, with two touchdowns.

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Joshua Kelley bolts for 55-yard touchdown run to give UCLA 28-27 lead

Joshua Kelley found a hole in the USC defense and bolted down the left sideline for a 55-yard touchdown run, giving UCLA a 28-27 lead with 10:39 to play in the fourth quarter.

After a holding penalty squandered the Trojans’ chance at a field goal the drive before, UCLA took over. Wilton Speight completed two passes for 26 yards, and Kelley rushed 16 yards in three carries before his explosive touchdown run.

With 256 yards in 32 attempts, Kelley is averaging eight yards per carry, with two touchdowns, against the Trojans’ defense.

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JT Daniels throws second interception

JT Daniels hurled a long pass to the left that Darnay Holmes snagged as he fell to the ground, giving UCLA possession in Daniels’ second interception of the game with 10:31 left in the fourth quarter.

After Joshua Kelley gave UCLA a one-point lead with a 55-yard touchdown run, Daniels threw the interception on the first play of the Trojans’ drive, a pass that slipped far away from a USC receiver.

The interception was Holmes’ third of the season, and his second straight, after recording a pick against Arizona State.

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Michael Brown gives USC 27-21 lead over UCLA with 22-yard field goal

After gaining possession through a UCLA interception, USC claimed a 27-21 lead over the Bruins when Michael Brown nailed a 22-yard field goal with 7:04 left in the third quarter.

After Aca’Cedric Ware gained 12 yards in two rushes, two of his three pass attempts — a 37-yard pass to Michael Pittman Jr. and an 8-yard pass to Amon-ra St. Brown — a trick play that saw Tyler Vaughns take the snap and run was called back because of a USC penalty. The Trojans have given up four penalties for 18 yards in the game.

After the penalty, UCLA held Vavae Malepeai to a pair of short rushes, as JT Daniels’ pass to Pittman fell incomplete, bringing the 77-yard, 11-play drive to an end with USC’s third field goal attempt of the game.

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Isaiah Langley intercepts Wilton Speight’s pass in end zone

Wilton Speight threw a long pass to the middle of the end zone, but Isaiah Langley intercepted it, giving USC possession on its own 25-yard line with 12:21 left to play in the third quarter.

The Bruins gained 35 yards in six plays before the turnover, with three rushes for 19 yards by Joshua Kelley and a rush apiece from Martell Irby and Speight. Kelley has rushed for 166 yards in 24 carries, with a touchdown.

The interception was Speight’s fifth of the season. He has completed nine of 15 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown.

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Velus Jones Jr.'s 45-yard catch and run gives USC 24-21 lead

Velus Jones Jr. caught a short pass from JT Daniels, got a block from Michael Pittman Jr. and tore down the field untouched to the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown play, giving USC a 24-21 lead over UCLA.

The play was Daniels’ second touchdown pass of the game and Jones’ first catch. It was Jones’ longest reception of the season and his first touchdown.

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UCLA grabs the leads after intercepting JT Daniels’ pass

Nate Meadors intercepted JT Daniels’ pass in the second quarter, setting up UCLA for a touchdown drive to take a lead over USC.

Daniels aimed the pass for Michael Pittman Jr. down the left sideline, but he overthrew the ball, and Meadors bolted for the interception — Daniels’ ninth of the season.

Once the Bruins gained possession, they got inside the five-yard line when Wilton Speight threw a deep pass to Theo Howard down the left sideline. After Brandon Pili picked up an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty, Joshua Kelley made the 1-yard touchdown run for the Bruins.

Kelley has earned more than 100 yards in the game with two touchdowns, notching a season with more than 1,000 rushing yards for the first time at UCLA since 2015.

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USC turns blocked punt into touchdown to take lead over UCLA

As UCLA lined up to punt deep in its own territory, Jake Russell rushed the punter with his USC teammates. He blocked the punt and sent the ball tumbling into the end zone, where USC recovered for a touchdown, taking a 17-14 lead over UCLA.

The Trojans held Joshua Kelley to three net rushing yards in two carries then sacked Wilton Speight for a nine-yard loss to force the punt. It was UCLA’s first drive of the game that did not result in a touchdown.

With the score, USC took the lead for the first time since its game-opening field goal.

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Joshua Kelley’s 61-yard run sets up UCLA for second touchdown in 1st quarter

Joshua Kelley broke free of the USC defense and took off running. He darted 61 yards before being dragged down within yards of the end zone, setting up the Bruins for their second touchdown in the first quarter, taking a 14-3 lead over the Trojans.

Kelley earned 12 yards in two carries before the big run. He has totaled 89 yards in six attempts in the first quarter, averaging 14.8 yards per carry to boost the Bruins to 156 total yards on offense.

The Trojans held Martell Irby and Wilton Speight’s rushes outside the end zone before Speight found a hole on a passing play and sprinted into the end zone, holding the ball out triumphantly as he completed the score.

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JT Daniels nails 44-yard touchdown pass to Amon-ra St. Brown

JT Daniels nailed a deep throw to Amon-ra St. Brown the left side of the field. St. Brown kept running into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown play.

St. Brown, Daniels’ high school teammate, has tallied 64 receiving yards in two catches. His catch was Daniels’ second completion on the drive.

Before the successful pass, the UCLA defense had effectively contained USC by limiting rushing yards, as the Trojans lost yardage from two penalties. St. Brown’s catch was USC’s longest of the day so far, as Daniels has completed seven of 11 passes for 148 yards.

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Wilton Speight connects with Theo Howard with 33-yard touchdown pass to give UCLA 7-3 lead

Theo Howard bolted past his USC defender to the right corner of the end zone and dove for Wilton Speight’s throw. Howard fell to his knees as he made the 33-yard touchdown catch, giving UCLA a 7-3 lead after the Bruins’ opening drive.

UCLA took control of momentum when Speight dropped back for a pass with Jonathan Lockett hurtling toward him. But Speight broke the tackle, and a would-be sack became a 29-yard pass to Caleb Wilson.

Speight completed all four of his passes on the drive while Joshua Kelley contributed 16 yards in three carries, giving UCLA a lead early in the first quarter, after an eight-play, 75-yard drive that took less than four minutes.

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Michael Brown drills 46-yard field goal to give USC 3-0 lead after opening drive

Michael Brown lined up for the field goal and drilled a 46-yard kick that barely fell inside the posts, giving USC a 3-0 lead over UCLA after the opening drive.

JT Daniels connected with Amon-ra St. Brown for a 20-yard pass to energize the drive. The Trojans got in field goal range when Michael Pittman Jr. grabbed Daniels’ pass on the left sideline and darted inside the 25-yard line.

But the Bruins’ defense stifled the Trojans attack, holding them to a short rush, an 8-yard sack of Daniels and an incomplete pass, leaving Brown to make the long field goal.

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Vandals spray paint UCLA’s Bruin Bear in USC colors ahead of rivalry game

Just because it’s a down year for the USC and UCLA football programs doesn’t mean the teams’ fan bases are any less passionate about the rivalry game coming up Saturday.

Just ask the Bruin Bear.

The well-known statue, located in UCLA’s Bruin Plaza, was found covered in red and yellow spray paint — likely the closest some overly enthusiastic USC fans could come to their Trojans’ cardinal and gold — around 10 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Daily Bruin.

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Certainty vs. uncertainty: Could this be the only Chip Kelly vs. Clay Helton matchup we see?

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly
UCLA head coach Chip Kelly
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Clay Helton spent much of this week addressing his job status after having taken his team to a major bowl game in each of his first two seasons.

Chip Kelly, who’s won all of two games in his first season with his team, mused about the fall of Milli Vanilli and narrated a video about a papa bear and his cub.

These are strange times in Los Angeles’ crosstown rivalry, with both teams wishing they really could throw out the records when UCLA faces USC on Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl.

The Bruins (2-8 overall, 2-5 Pac-12 Conference) and Trojans (5-5, 4-4) enter the game with more combined losses than in any of their previous 87 meetings in a rivalry that dates to 1929.

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USC-UCLA: A look at how the teams match up

USC running back Aca'Cedric Ware takes the ball down to the California six-yard line last weekend in the Trojans' loss to California.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

USC (5-5, 4-4) at UCLA (2-8, 2-5)

Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Rose Bowl. TV: Channel 11. Radio: 570, 1110, 1150, 97.3.

Marquee matchup

USC offensive line vs. UCLA defensive front. Against poor rushing defenses, USC running back Aca’Cedric Ware has feasted this season, putting up 173 yards against Arizona and and 205 yards against Oregon State. If that trend holds, Ware should be in for a big day Saturday against UCLA, but USC’s offensive line still must provide the holes to get Ware going. A strong Trojans running game would open up the play-action pass for quarterback JT Daniels and could lead to one of USC’s best offensive days of the season. It would also keep the Trojans in third-and-short situations, limiting UCLA’s ability to go all out with pressuring Daniels, who has struggled in third and long because of poor protection. USC’s offensive line played six good quarters in a row against Oregon State and in the first half against California before wilting in the second half in a 15-14 loss to the Golden Bears. If UCLA’s defensive front is going to show something this season, now would be the time.

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