Early in Saturday’s game against No. 16 UCLA, it looked like USC’s College Football Playoff hopes would vanish, much as Tennessee’s did. The No. 7 Trojans trailed their crosstown rivals by two touchdowns after a quarter. But quarterback Caleb Williams led USC to a 48-45 come-from-behind win.
UCLA scored a touchdown with 6:38 remaining. The Bruins then forced a punt from the Trojans and took possession, needing only a touchdown to win and only a field goal to send the game into overtime. Dorian Thompson-Robinson drove UCLA to just short of midfield but USC defensive end Korey Foreman got in the way of a Thompson-Robinson pass and hauled it in to seal the game.
USC defense comes up with a huge play to seal a win against UCLA. Trojans CFP hopes are still alive. pic.twitter.com/ulHkFQEWFS
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) November 20, 2022
The game was exciting. Every time one of the teams went on a run, the other one answered. College football fans reacted in a big way to USC’s thrilling victory.
Bring that bell back to where it belongs. @USC_Athletics
— Matt Leinart (@MattLeinartQB) November 20, 2022
USC went 4-8 last year.
This year in Lincoln Riley's first year as head coach, the Trojans are 10-1, have clinched a spot in the PAC-12 Championship and are two wins away from a potential CFP berth 🏈 pic.twitter.com/6lDt8WWIfQ
— 247Sports (@247Sports) November 20, 2022
Caleb Williams' last five games:
◽️ 438 total yds, 5 total TD vs. Utah
◽️ 425 total yards, 5 total TD vs. Arizona
◽️ 398 total yards, 5 total TD vs. Cal
◽️ 264 total yards, 5 total TD vs. Colorado
◽️ 502 yards, 3 total TD vs. UCLA
Heisman favorite? pic.twitter.com/bfYpNhkyjI
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) November 20, 2022
USC is BACK!
Final: Trojans 48, Bruins 45
Playoff contenders. pic.twitter.com/arKkUUjgL4
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) November 20, 2022
With this win, coupled with No. 5 Tennessee’s loss, the Trojans will almost certainly move up in the College Football Playoff rankings. And while USC probably won’t jump into the top four, two more teams ahead of the Trojans — Michigan and Ohio State — play each other next week. So, if USC can beat Notre Dame, it will likely be positioned to jump over the loser of that game.
The Trojans still have a lot of work to do to get to the playoff. Notre Dame will be coming into that game on a hot streak. And even with a win against the Fighting Irish, USC will need to win the PAC-12 Championship Game to have any realistic chance at making it into the CFP. The comeback win on Saturday night, though, was a massive step in the right direction.