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Amid schedule uncertainty, UCLA doesn’t hold farewell ceremony before playing USC

UCLA players enter the Rose Bowl before their game against rival USC on Dec. 12, 2020.
UCLA players run onto the field Saturday at the Rose Bowl. With uncertainty hovering around the last weekend of the season as well as players’ status for next season, the Bruins did not hold a farewell ceremony.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Before what might have been their last game at the Rose Bowl, UCLA’s seniors and graduate transfers were greeted with … nothing.

There was no farewell ceremony prior to the Bruins’ 43-38 rivalry loss to USC with so much uncertainty hovering around the final weekend of this season, not to mention the players’ status for next season.

Even with no formal announcement, there was a chance UCLA could play one more home game Dec. 19, giving the team another opportunity to honor a group of players who will have the option to return in 2021 after the NCAA granted an additional year of eligibility to all players in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then again, there’s no assurances that game gets played given all the cancellations across college football this season.

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Kevon Slovis’ fifth touchdown pass, with 16 seconds left, lifted USC to a 43-38 win over UCLA and a 5-0 record. Up next is the Pac-12 title game.

Among those who might have played their last game at the Rose Bowl were graduate transfers Brittain Brown, Obi Eboh, Paul Grattan Jr. and Qwuantrezz Knight; redshirt seniors Demetric Felton Jr., Ethan Fernea, Leni Toailoa and Osa Odighizuwa; and senior Datona Jackson.

USC’s fate was slightly more assured. The Trojans will play Washington in the Pac-12 championship Friday at the Coliseum, assuming the Huskies have enough players available after their game against Oregon this weekend was declared a no contest because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the Washington program.

Highlights from USC’s 43-38 victory over UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.

Not going viral

One of the biggest success stories of UCLA’s season has been its ability to ward off COVID-19.

The Bruins athletic department announced Friday that it had zero positive results for the coronavirus among the 732 antigen and 421 PCR tests administered over the previous week. Since the athletic department began testing June 22, there were only 26 positives among athletes, coaches and staff from the 13,430 tests administered to all teams on campus, a positive rate of 0.19%.

According to the most recent figures released by the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine coronavirus tracker, an average of 11.0% of all tests conducted in the United States were positive over the last seven days.

Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power Five conference football game when she kicked an extra point against Tennessee.

Four UCLA football players have tested positive since the start of the season. One positive test came before the opener against Colorado, two positives came before the game against Oregon, and one positive came before the game against Arizona State. The Bruins had additional players quarantined as a result of contact tracing protocols, including quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. He missed the games against Oregon and Arizona.

Etc.

UCLA defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia appeared to get hurt early in the second quarter and entered the injury tent. He returned to sack USC quarterback Kedon Slovis for a seven-yard loss early in the fourth quarter. ... A moment of silence for former UCLA track and field great Rafer Johnson, the Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon who died earlier this month at 86, was held before the game.


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