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Los Angeles Galaxy Defend MLS Cup vs. Houston

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BVN Sports

Sports fans in Southern California are blessed with two of everything, except an NFL team. The landscape is covered with Angles, Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Trojans, Bruins, Kings, Ducks, Chivas USA and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

We can be demanding of these franchises. We expect performance and championships.

Currently, Los Angeles is the keeper of two championship trophies, the Stanley Cup and the MLS Cup.

The star studded Los Angeles Galaxy validated it’s David Beckham acquisition by winning it all in 2011. Beckham paired with perennial MVP Landon Donovan (Redlands East Valley High School) established their MLS dominance and won the MLS Cup in front of the home crowd at Home Depot Center.

Defending the cup this year will require the health of Landon Donovan and David Beckham, who are both on the mend. Donavan seems to have fully recovered from a nagging thigh issue and Beckham from a tender ankle.

Donovan’s has managed to play 25 games, scoring 9 goals and 14 assists, second most in MLS. Beckham’s year has been up and down. A variety of nagging injuries have reduced him to only one complete game of the last ten. The talented midfielder still contributed 7 goals, 9 assists in his 23 games.

The Los Angeles Galaxy appears to be peaking at just the right time. They disposed the Sounders on aggregate goals Wednesday night is Seattle, to win the Western Conference. Once again they draw Houston in a repeat match-up of 2011’s MLS Cup.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN on Sunday, December 1st, from the Home Depot Center in Carson.

UCLA Makes Statement against USC

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By Steve Finley
Special to the BVN

The UCLA football team stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam home run when they beat USC 38-28 last Saturday at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins out played the Trojans in every phase of the game during a rainy, cloudy day in Pasadena in front of 83,277 fans. What a difference a year makes. Last year USC beat UCLA 50-0.

Now the Bruins are the champions of the South Division of the Pac-12 Conference and will play either Stanford or Oregon on November 30 for the conference championship.

The 9-2 Bruins have a different philosophy, a new coaching staff and one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Brett Hundley. “I am really proud of this team,” said Mora after the victory over USC. “I am especially happy for our seniors who finally got a chance to beat USC.”

Once again the Bruins were led by red-shirt freshman quarterback Hundley. Hundley had the Trojans’ defense confused the whole game with his passing and running. He completed 22 of 30 passes for 234 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. He also ran for 49 yards and two touchdowns. USC’s quarterback, pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Barkley completed 20 of 38 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns but he also threw two costly interceptions.

“I thought Brett made key plays when he needed to,” said Mora. “He kept his eyes down field and he made the money throws, the hard throws at the important times of the game. We are just seeing the beginning of how great Brett Hundley can be. It’s going to take a lot of hard work but he is a young man who is willing to put in the work. He has great coaching and he is a tremendous leader.”

Hundley gives a lot of credit to his offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Noel Mazzone and his teammates. “I am so blessed to be a part of this team, “said Hundley. “The receivers, the coaches, the offensive line, special teams and the defense are all doing a great job. Remember defense wins championships.”

The Bruins can’t relax because they battle No. 14 Stanford Saturday at the 3:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl. Stanford is coming off one of the biggest wins in school history, a 17-14 overtime win over No. 1 Oregon.

If the Bruins play with the same intensity Saturday they showed against USC, UCLA will be 10-2 for the Saturday night and will go into the conference championship game with a lot of momentum.

Steve Findley is a former Daily sports editor and columnist. Steve can be reached at sfinley@aol.com

USC Can’t Keep Ducks Out of History Books

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Trojans’ spot the Ducks a possession and Barner makes sure they can’t catch-up as Oregon rolls up record breaking 730 yards of Offense.

USC 51 | Oregon 62

By Gary Montgomery, BVN Staff

Los Angeles – As I so often do while driving into LA on the way to one of the many sporting events I attend, on Saturday I tuned into USC’s pregame show hoping to get updates on injuries and lineup changes. As usual, there are any number of former Trojans giving interviews and going on and on about how the game will unfold and what USC has to do to win. All of the usual pundit babble.

However, as one of the old Trojans was laying out his formula for a win, he said something that caught my attention.

He said that Oregon (9-0;6-0 PAC 12) was 34-0 in games where they were leading at half-time and that it would behoove the Trojan’s to try and get a lead early to see how the Ducks would respond to playing from behind. “Make the Ducks come after you,” he shouted.

I thought, that makes a lot of sense. USC (6-3; 4-3 PAC-12) has one of the most talented collections of offensive talent in college football and the ability to score in lightning strikes. Their ability to put up points could easily help them keep up with the Ducks if they didn’t fall too far behind early.

Well, either the USC coaching staff doesn’t listen to pregame shows or don’t give a darn what old players think. After winning the coin toss and earning the right to receive the football first, USC chose to defer and give the best offense in the nation the ball. So grateful were the visiting Ducks that they only kept it for 1:05 seconds. Oregon executed a 5 play 75-yard drive in just over a minute to put USC in a 7-0 hole and the Ducks never looked back.

The Ducks rolled up a record 730 yards of offense against USC in Saturday’s shoot out and moved up to number 2 in the latest BCS polls. USC dropped to number 21 after the loss but still has hopes of representing the South Division of the PAC 12.

Most of the damage was inflicted by former Riverside Notre Dame star Kenjon Barner. Barner’s incredible day not only sunk the Trojans’ hopes but catapulted Barner into the Heisman race in a big way. Barner had 321-yards rushing on 38 carries breaking the previous opponent rushing record against USC recently set by his former teammate and friend LaMicheal James.

G. Montgomery can be reached at sports@blackvoicenews.com

UCLA Football Moves to the Head of the Class

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UCLA 66 | Arizona 10

By Steve Finley, Special to the BVN

Pasadena – Right now there is a new sheriff in town. It’s the UCLA football team. The 7-2 Bruins have a better record than the pre-season No. 1 USC Trojans who have fallen to 6-3. The Bruins are 4-2 in the South Division of the Pac-12 Conference while USC is 4-3. If both teams win their games this weekend, they are headed for a winner take all southern division show down on November 17 at the Rose Bowl. Before that happens the Bruins must beat Washington State on the road and USC must beat Arizona State at home on Saturday.

“We just have to stay consistent,” said UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley. “If we do that the sky is the limit for this team. We have high expectations for this team on offense, defense and special teams. We expect everyone to do things the right way. We will make mistakes but if we stay consistent we will be alright.”

Not only is it surprising that UCLA has a better record than USC, it’s also shocking that head coach Jim Mora and his assistants are winning with the same players Rick Neuheisel had last season. But we also need to note that Neuheisel did not have Hundley last season. Neuheisel recruited Hundley two years ago and because of injuries he did not play last year. Hundley is currently one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and is the main reason UCLA is having a breakout season. “There’s no magic to it,” said Mora after the victory over Arizona. “It’s about doing what you have to do play after play.”

Doing what you have to do play after play is what running back Johnathan Franklin has done the past four years. On Saturday he broke Gaston Green’s career rushing record of 3,731 yards. Franklin finished the night with 162-yards and two touchdowns. Franklin, who continues to be humble, gives the credit to his teammates.

“The offensive line and the receivers have done a great job all season,” said Franklin. “They block and open up the big holes and I run through the holes.” Franklin’s unassuming nature has made an impression on Mora. “He’s an inspiration to me, his teammates and everyone who has watched him play,” said Mora.

Another surprise on Saturday was the play of the UCLA defense. They held Arizona’s high powered offense to 10 points. “It was a great experience,” said UCLA cornerback Sheldon Price. “We had the new uniforms on and the crowd (81,673) was amazing. We went back to basics and everyone was on top of their game. We did what we are capable of doing. We just have to keep it going.”

Steve Finley is a former Daily Bruin Editor and alum. Steve can be reached at sfinley50@aol.com

USC Over Colorado 50-6 As Pac 12 Records Fall

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By Gary Montgomery, BVN Sports

LOS ANGELES – Robert Woods and Matt Barkley have record days as the Trojans keep pace with the Oregon schools in the Pac-12.

In a game USC was expected to win big, the Trojans continue to rack up mistakes on the field and now lead the conference in penalties. USC had seven for 75 yards on the day. The team is young at many positions, which may account for the frequency of yellow flags.

The powerful offense was more than adequate to mask the penalties, but could prove costly against teams like Oregon and Notre Dame ahead.

The Barkley and Woods show exposed Colorado’s inability to cover elite speed and accurate passing.

The Trojans scored three touchdowns in the first eight minutes as the Buffalos were truly outmatched.

Barkley, who played only three quarters, had a near perfect day. He was 19 of 20 for 298 yards and a record six touchdowns. Four of those tosses went to junior Robert Woods who has distinguished himself as the top receiver in the conference.

Barkley elected to bypass the NFL draft and remain in Los Angeles, despite the harshness of the NCAA sanctions handed down on USC. He passed Matt Leinart as the all time team and conference leader in touchdowns thrown. With his six touchdowns against Colorado, Barkley now has a lofty 102.

Despite the mistakes, USC lurks at number eleven on the list of national rankings. Many insiders believe they are much better than that and could move up dramatically with a strong November. They draw Oregon, Arizona State and Notre Dame next month.

For coach Kiffen, the challenge may be in keeping his other high profile athletes interested, while Barkley and Woods play catch. Marqise Lee had six nice catches of his own for 103 yards and one touchdown.

A second quarter injury to offensive tackle Aundray Walker is a concern. Walker left the game on a cart after incurring an upper body injury. The Trojans (6-1) will travel to play Arizona in Tucson on Saturday.

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