After UCLA loss, USC has to beat undefeated Notre Dame to get to a bowl

Yahoo Sports
USC hasn’t been below .500 since 2000. (AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez, File)
USC hasn’t been below .500 since 2000. (AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez, File)

USC is heading toward its worst season since 2000.

The Trojans fell 34-27 to UCLA on Saturday to drop to 5-6 on the season. With six wins needed for bowl eligibility, USC needs to beat No. 3 Notre Dame in the final week of the regular season to secure a bowl berth.

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USC has finished a season under .500 just twice since 1990. When the Trojans went 5-7 in 2000, Paul Hackett was fired and replaced by Pete Carroll. After Larry Smith’s Trojans were 3-8 in 1991, he was out as USC’s coach following the 1992 season.

Is Clay Helton nearing the same fate? He said earlier in the week that he planned to be at USC for the long term. But actions speak louder than words. And USC fans haven’t seen struggles like this very often. The game was USC’s second straight loss and fourth loss in five games.

The struggles are real too. The loss to the Bruins is the first time USC has lost to a team with eight losses since 1960. And the defense got steamrolled on Saturday.

UCLA running back Joshua Kelley rushed 40 times for 289 yards and two scores. His yardage total is the most ever recorded by a UCLA player against the Trojans. Kelley was a one-man wrecking ball too. UCLA players combined to rush for 24 yards outside of his total.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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