USC vs. UCLA: Rivals protect their iconic statues ahead of crosstown football clash

EXPOSITION PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Days before the USC and UCLA football teams are set to clash at the Coliseum, several USC students on Thursday were keeping a watchful eye on Tommy Trojan and three other statues on their campus.

The round-the-clock guard seeks to prevent any vandalism or pranks involving the statues amid the longtime rivalry between the two universities.

The USC statues have been covered with a silver protective wrap - a tarp wrapped in duct tape -- since earlier this week.

Meanwhile, at the UCLA campus in Westwood, the iconic Bruin Bear statue has been in a hibernation of sorts - encased in a box to ward off pranksters.

Bruins football players and fans rallied Wednesday night at a massive on-campus bonfire, an annual tradition. USC is scheduled to hold its own rally Thursday evening.

Each team has a lot at stake in Saturday's game, whose kickoff is set for 5 p.m. The Trojans are trying to stay in the bowl hunt after locking up the PAC-12 South Division title. The Bruins need a win in order to remain eligible for a bowl game.

Watch the UCLA Bruins take on the USC Trojans this Saturday on ABC7. Coverage of the game starts at 4:30 p.m.
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