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For USC players, getting No. 5 over UCLA isn't the No. 1 priority

Fifth-year Trojan seniors such as Wes Horton and Khaled Holmes admit that going unbeaten in their careers against the Bruins would be 'huge,' but their focus is on Saturday, not posterity.

November 16, 2012|By Gary Klein
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USC defensive end Wes Horton didn't spend much time savoring last week's victory over Arizona State.

"From the second we got done," he said, "the first thing I thought was: 'It's UCLA week. It's time to go.'"

Horton, a fifth-year senior, has reason to be eager: He's been a part of four victories against the Bruins since arriving at USC in 2008 and has a chance to end his career unbeaten against the Trojans' arch rival.

So Horton, the son of former UCLA offensive lineman Myke Horton, is looking forward to Saturday's game at the Rose Bowl.

"To get these guys five years in a row?" he said. "That would be huge."

Other fifth-year seniors such as center Khaled Holmes, running back Curtis McNeal, safety Drew McAllister, offensive lineman Abe Markowitz and walk-on quarterback John Manoogian also can achieve the feat.

All have been in the game or on the sideline during what has grown into a five-game winning streak against the Bruins. It's the second time in the history of a series dating to 1929 that the Trojans have won at least five games in a row. USC won seven straight games before the Bruins upset the Trojans, 13-9, in 2006.

Holmes said he wasn't focusing on the possibility of finishing unbeaten against the Bruins. "That would be a cool thing to say at the end of your career, but it doesn't matter," he said. "Obviously, all that matters is" Saturday's game.

Neither Holmes, Horton nor other USC players said that having never lost to the Bruins gives the Trojans an advantage.

Last season, the Trojans routed UCLA, 50-0, at the Coliseum.

Matt Barkley, who passed for six touchdowns in that game, has a chance to finish his career as the only starting quarterback in USC history to play in four victories over the Bruins.

But Barkley, like Holmes, said the focus was on Saturday's game.

Senior safety T.J. McDonald has the chance to finish his career unbeaten not only against the Bruins, but also against his brother, Bruins safety Tevin McDonald, a third-year sophomore.

"I think that's something to think about down the road," T.J. said. "To be able to come back and say I never lost to you in college?

"That would be tight."

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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