"Fight On", "Go Bruins", Bruin Nation, Bruins, college football, Crosstown Rivalry, football, L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Pac-12 Conference, Rose Bowl, Trojan Family, Trojans, UCLA, UCLA Bruins, University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California, USC, USC Trojans, Victory Bell
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES (UCLA) BRUINS vs
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (USC) TROJANS
** THE 87th MEETING **
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18th, 5:00 p.m.
LOS ANGELES MEMORIAL COLISEUM, LOS ANGELES, CA
TV: ABC Channel 7
ALL-TIME SERIES: USC leads 48-31-7 (minus two wins due to NCAA sanctions in 2004 & 2005, so it’s really 46-31-7)
LAST YEAR: USC won, 36-14, at the Rose Bowl
LINE: USC is favored by 16 points
UCLA: 5-5 overall, 3-4 and 4th place in the Pac-12 South
USC: 9-2 overall, 7-1 and 1st place in the Pac-12 South – will be in the Pac-12 Championship Game on December 2nd
Scoring Average (per game): Both teams averaging 35 points/game
Defensive Scoring Average (per game): UCLA 39, USC 26
Yards Per Game: UCLA 462.5, USC 495.1
Defensive Yards Per Game: UCLA 499, USC 401.6
Rushing Defense Per Game: UCLA 301 (ranked 130th out of 130 – LAST in the nation!), USC 166.1
Interceptions: UCLA 6, USC 15
Sacks: UCLA 17, USC 36
Something to encourage Bruin Nation: Highlights of UCLA’s last win over USC, 38-20 at the Rose Bowl in 2014. Courtesy of YouTube.
Josh Rosen, QB – 3,094 yards passing, 62.2% completions, 21 TD, 9 INT
Bolu Olorunfumnmi, RB – 484 yards, 5.4 ypc, 5 TD
Soso Jamabo, RB – 4.8 ypc, 6 TD
Jordan Lasley, WR – 39 receptions, 705 yards, 4 TD
Theo Howard, WR – 33 receptions, 2 TD
Kenny Young, LB – 77 tackles, 5.0 TFL
Adarius Pickett, DB – 69 tackles, 3.0 TFL
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, DL – 39 tackles, 5.5 sacks
Darnay Holmes, DB – 32 tackles, 2 INT
Sam Darnold, QB – 3,198 yards passing, 63.4% completions, 24 TD, 11 INT
Ronald Jones II, RB – 1,224 yards, 6.7 ypc, 14 TD
Deontay Burnett, WR – 69 receptions, 911 yards, 9 TD
Tyler Vaughns, WR – 46 receptions, 627 yards, 4 TD
Cameron Smith, LB – 87 tackles, 8.0 TFL
Marvel Tell III, S – 70 tackles, 2 INT (1 pick-six)
Uchenna Nwosu, LB – 60 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks
Rasheem Green, DL – 10.5 TFL, 8 sacks
Christian Rector, LB – 11.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks
Bruin linebacker Kenny Young (#42) bringing down Trojan running back Aca’Cedric Ware (#28) during last season’s clash at the Rose Bowl. Photo courtesy of dailybruin.com
As a UCLA alum and a longtime member of Bruin Nation who is impartial, objective, realistic, and definitely not a “homer” as far as my assessments of not only the football team, but all the sports programs that wear blue and gold with the letters U, C, L, and A on the front,
As much as I would like to give the Bruins the best of chances at beating the Trojans on Saturday, I simply can’t as to say otherwise would compromise my integrity as an online sports writer.
Four factors stand out in this 87th clash:
1. USC’s defense has more than twice the number of sacks as UCLA
2. USC’s defense has more than twice the number of interceptions as UCLA
3. The fact that UCLA’s run defense ranks dead last in all of college football as it’s been an absolute sieve all season, giving running backs much material for their highlight reels.
4. Not only does USC’s running back, Ronald Jones II, have over 1,000 yards on the ground for the second straight season, his career totals have approached the company of such Trojan legends as Reggie Bush, Charles White, Marcus Allen, and O.J. Simpson, whose totals Jones figures to pass on Saturday.
Simply put, it just doesn’t add up for UCLA, especially the last in the country in run defense vs Ronald Jones factor.
If I were USC coach Clay Helton, my game plan on offense would be very simple:
Give Jones, or any other running back in cardinal and gold, the ball.
Darnold won’t have to throw the ball much at all if things go the way ‘SC expects.
On defense, look for the Trojans to have a likewise simple plan:
Blitz Rosen often. Give him no time to throw.
In other words, keep doing what they’ve been doing the past few weeks in their wins over Colorado and the Arizona schools.
Highlights of the last Crosstown Rivalry game – and the last one Josh Rosen played in – at the Coliseum, a 40-21 win for the Trojans. Courtesy of YouTube.
Having Said That…
Just like last season, the only chance that UCLA has in the Coliseum is to play a perfect game – on offense as well as defense.
Lasley, Howard, and every other wide receiver in a blue jersey must not drop one ball thrown at them.
No one wearing blue and gold must turn the ball over.
No one wearing a gold helmet with a script “UCLA” on the side must commit any penalties, particularly those that stop drives for them or extend drives for the Trojans.
For goodness sake, no Bruin defensive player must miss any tackles whatsoever.
And most importantly, everyone on Jim Mora’s team, from the coaches all the way down to the student assistants providing water, must come out hard and play, coach, and perform like they have nothing to lose.
Do those things, and the Bruins’ chances at an upset are decent.
Do them not, and the game will be over by the middle of the third quarter if not halftime.
With the Victory Bell remaining cardinal.
In fact, I have a new eight-clap for this football team of my alma mater’s for this Saturday:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, U…C…L…A…U! C! L! A! NO MISTAKES!!
FOR MY PREDICTIONS OF HOW THIS 87th MEETING BETWEEN THE BRUINS AND THE TROJANS WILL BE – INCLUDING MY PERSONAL TRADITION OF NAMING THE FINAL SCORE – CLICK ONTO THIS SITE TOMORROW!
To UCLA defenders trying to keep Juju Smith-Schuster (#9) – now a Pittsburgh Steeler – from scoring in last year’s UCLA-USC game. Photo courtesy of latimes.com