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#11 USC TROJANS (9-2) vs UCLA BRUINS (5-5)
DAY & DATE: Saturday, November 18, 2017
PLACE: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
TIME: 5:00 p.m.
TV: ABC Channel 7
AT STAKE BESIDES BRAGGING RIGHTS AND THE VICTORY BELL: Bowl eligibility for UCLA as the Bruins are one win short
ALL-TIME SERIES: Trojans lead 48-31-7 (Minus two wins due to NCAA sanctions, so it’s really 46-31-7)
FIRST GAME: 1929 – Trojans won 76-0
MOST RECENT GAME: 2016 – Trojans won 36-14
LAST UCLA WIN: 2014 – Bruins won 38-20
LONGEST WIN STREAKS: UCLA won eight straight from 1991-1998, USC won seven straight from 1999-2005
LINE: Trojans favored by 16
A trailer for the documentary “A City Divided”, about the history of the Crosstown Rivalry. Courtesy of YouTube.
OK STUDENTS, ALUMNI AND FANS OF UCLA AND USC, HERE IT IS – THIS IS HOW I SEE SATURDAY’S CROSSTOWN RIVALRY CLASH GOING DOWN:
Any member of the Trojan Family having visions of a 50-0 massacre like in 2011 needs to leave them at the Tommy Trojan statue on their campus right now.
That will definitely not happen, simply because Josh Rosen is too talented a quarterback, the Bruin offense is more talented than in 2011 – or even last year – and Rosen in particular will be looking to avenge his sub-par performance at the Coliseum two years ago, the only other time he faced USC.
In fact, I see UCLA coming out hard, or like I read in a comment from a Trojan fan on Facebook, “…with guns blazing”.
In other words, the Bruins will bring it at the onset, showing ‘SC that they’re not intimidated by them or scared of them or their atmosphere; their Traveler horse mascot, their band, their band’s drum major stabbing the middle of the Coliseum turf, or anything else.
Because Rosen is the QB that he is, and the way UCLA’s offense has improved, the Bruins will score some points.
And I see Jedd Fisch, the Bruins’ offensive coordinator, pulling off a few trick plays to try to catch the Trojan defense off guard.
However (here comes the unfortunate bad news for Bruin Nation)…
None of that will result in a Bruin upset.
There are two reasons that stand out in my view:
- The depth that USC has as they have suffered as many injuries as UCLA this season, and yet they stand at 9-2 with the Pac-12 South clinched because their back-ups have stepped up big time.
- The fact that UCLA’s football team is the home of the nation’s worst run defense, giving up an average of 301 yards per game and ranking, out of the 130 teams that play in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision, 130th – combined with Trojan running back Ronald Jones II rushing for over 1,000 yards for the second straight year, and currently on a hot streak, taking over with two rushing touchdowns to beat Arizona in particular in USC’s last home game.
‘SC coach Clay Helton, much like what he did in the second half of the 2015 game, will take advantage of the Bruins’ extreme weakness in stopping the run and pound the ball, counting on Jones to put up some big numbers.
Which considering that UCLA has been terrible against the run all season, Jones probably will.
Look for Trojan QB Sam Darnold to likewise have a good day, as he will be using his legs to take advantage of the Bruin ineptness against the run as well as his arm.
KABC Channel 7’s report on the tailgaters at the UCLA-USC game on the ‘SC campus in 2015. Courtesy of YouTube.
In Other Words…
I see this year’s clash between Los Angeles’ two biggest institutions of higher learning unfolding like the previous two clashes.
The Bruins will be fired up and give USC a battle at the onset, but the Trojans’ overall depth and extreme advantage in their rushing attack vs UCLA’s defense against the run will ultimately be the deciding factor.
Which is why I believe the final score will be:
USC TROJANS – 42
UCLA BRUINS – 24
This score, of course, is coming from someone who’s impartial, objective, and realistic in covering one of the country’s most prolific and historical rivalries.
As someone who’s a UCLA alum and has been a member of Bruin Nation for the vast majority of his life, however, I certainly hope I am wrong.
Which is why I’m unfolding this special eight-clap for my alma mater’s football team once again:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, U…C…L…A…U! C! L! A! PROVE ME WRONG!!
And like in 2015 and 2016, if those Bruins do indeed prove these predictions as incorrect, I will be quite happy to have been proven wrong.
But Jim Mora and his blue and gold-clad team will have to do exactly that.
LIKE IN THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS, THIS CROSSTOWN RIVALRY COVERAGE IS NOT DONE AS I WILL HAVE A FULL ANALYSIS OF THE GAME ON THIS SITE ON MONDAY.
BE SURE TO CHECK IT OUT!
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen trying to avoid former USC defensive lineman Claude Pelon (#90) during the last Crosstown Rivalry game held in the Coliseum. Photo courtesy of abc7.com.