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USC vs. UCLA: Trojans drum major upset that band won't stab Rose Bowl field

Drum major says field stabbing "is not an action of disrespect."

Stephen Dunn

The USC Trojans marching band won't stab midfield prior to its pre-game performance Saturday before USC and UCLA face off in a crosstown rivalry, and that doesn't sit well with the band's drum major.

"It's upsetting that anyone would want to limit or eliminate portions of what we do," Keith Yoerg, the band's drum major, posted on his Twitter account. "The tradition of the USC drum major stabbing the field before The Spirit of Troy performs its pre-game show is one of the most iconic moments in all of college football. It is consistently part of ESPN intros and is a moment that many fans look forward to at any USC game."

USC announced it would not stab midfield prior to the band's performance on Tuesday due to the request of the UCLA Athletic Department. The band's director, Arthur Bartner, made the decision after meeting with UCLA game management, agreeing to "suspend" the tradition for the time being.

"This is not an action of disrespect, rather it is meant to signal the beginning of the band's pre-game show," Yoerg wrote. "Eliminating this tradition completely misrepresents what the tradition stands for and makes it seem as thought he practice is directed at [UCLA]."

The No. 18 Trojans (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12) play the No. 17 Bruins (8-2, 5-2) on Saturday at 12:05 PT in the Rose Bowl. The game will be televised by FOX.