It’s a rivalry, yes. And in all rivalries, there is little room for affection, but room aplenty for animosity. There is jawing and shoving, perhaps a few too many personal fouls. But at the end of the day, between UCLA and USC, there remains an abundance of respect.
Adoree Jackson, a former USC cornerback taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans, recognized that respect. While he was sure to celebrate his Trojans’ 28-23 win over UCLA in the crosstown rivalry on Saturday, he also tipped his hat to Bruins wide receiver Jordan Lasley, who enjoyed a massive day against the Trojans.
That’s what a rivalry game should look like! @LegendaryLasley respect 💯
— Adoree' Jackson (@AdoreeKnows) November 19, 2017
While the game itself will not go down in UCLA-USC lore, Lasley’s performance may be remembered for quite some time. His 204 yards were the fourth most all-time in UCLA history. It didn’t hurt, of course, that he was on the receiving end of passes from Josh Rosen, whose completions totaled 421 yards, the most any Bruins quarterback has thrown against USC in the rivalry’s history.
Rosen to Lasley is nothing new. Not in the slightest. This is the fifth time this season that Lasley has eclipsed the 100-yard mark, and the second game in a row. Had it not been for a suspension, because of behavior issues that held him out of four games this season, there’s more than a fair chance that Lasley would be in discussions as the nation’s top receiver.
“College is about learning, growing up, maturing, going through difficult times and persevering and learning how to manage your life, and Jordan’s had some struggles, but Jordan’s persevered,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said of his wide receiver on Nov. 12, after his return. “Jordan came back after three weeks away from this football team with, in my opinion, a little bit different perspective. … I was proud of him tonight not only for the plays that he made but the control that he showed when he didn’t make plays, for him being able to play with passion but harness it, for him to be able to play with emotion but not become very emotional, and he’s a guy that we need.”
Every time Lasley suits up, he is the guy UCLA needs, and the one Rosen can reliably throw to. Lasley caught passes in almost every conceivable way on Saturday night. He caught passes across the middle, in the flats, tiptoeing on the sideline and even off a couple of helmets. He caught passes in the end zone, and he also caught passes shy of the end zone and ran his way in from there.
The Bruins will need Lasley next Friday, when Cal visits for the season finale. A win will send the Bruins bowling. A loss will send them packing.
One more week for Lasley to earn respect.