With NCAA sanctions taking away any chance at a bowl game, USC's final game of the season was their rivalry contest Saturday night against UCLA.
Trojans' senior running back Allen Bradford made the most of it, gashing the Bruins on a career-high 29 carries for 212 yards and a touchdown and catching a 47 yard pass for another score. Both of Bradford's scores came in the fourth quarter, proving to be the winning margin in USC's 28-14 victory.
Bradford, 5-11 and 235 pounds, entered the season as one of the more intriguing big backs in the country, but found himself in and out of Lane Kiffin's doghouse this year as the Trojans split carries between he, Marc Tyler and C.J. Gable.
Against the Bruins, Bradford ran like a man who realized this was his last game in a Trojan uniform. He repeatedly ran through would-be tacklers, and showed off the lateral agility and breakaway speed uncommon among backs of his size.
Bradford ran well against a UCLA defense boasting two of the top junior prospects in the country (outside linebacker Akeem Ayers, free safety Rahim Moore), but it was his fourth quarter 73-yard run that sealed the game and my vote as the Prospect of the Week.
Bradford, running out of the I-formation, quickly got to and broke through the line of scrimmage. He made a subtle fake to his left that got Bruins' strong safety Tony Dye to bite, lowered his shoulders (and protected the ball with both hands) as he got through traffic and exploded through the defense. Again, his breakaway speed might be the characteristic that will most impress scouts on this play.
Bradford's inconsistent senior season (and career, for that matter) won't earn him a high draft selection come April. He's demonstrated the natural running and receiving skills throughout his career, however, to warrant middle to late round consideration, especially for an NFL club looking for a bruiser to match up with a speed back.