UCLA receiver Mossi Johnson holds on to a pass for a first down despite receiving a big hit from USC linebacker Su’a Cravens during the second quarter Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
The USC offensive line squares up with the UCLA defensive line in a game at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 22, 2014.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
There is the 24-hour rule. There is a victory UCLA players will remember for a lifetime.
Those conflicting thoughts will run through minds this week at Spaulding Field, as the Bruins prepare to play Stanford in the Rose Bowl on Friday.
Coach Jim Mora has preached that any victory has to be put on the shelf after 24 hours. But a 38-20 whipping of USC won’t be so easy to file away.
“That’s a game I will remember forever,” quarterback Brett Hundley said. “At the same time, it comes down to the leadership and maturity of the team. We have to be able to put the focus back where it needs to be.”
UCLA needs a victory over Stanford to win the Pac-12 South Division and go to the conference championship game. The Bruins would play Oregon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Dec. 5.
Yet the appeal of celebrating such a decisive victory over USC remains.
“It’s tough,” receiver Jordan Payton said. “We have such a big goal, and our dream is so big that we have no choice. We have to get right back on track and get ready for another big game.”
UCLA hasn’t beaten Stanford since 2008, a six-game losing streak.
Asked about forgetting about the USC victory, safety Anthony Jefferson said, “It’s kind of hard when you just beat the team across town. But we haven’t beaten Stanford in years. This game is as big or bigger than the SC game.”