Preview Week 12…USC vs UCLA: #18 vs #17 in the Rose Bowl

3:05 pm on Fox: #18 USC (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12) at #17 UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12)

The game will decide who represents the South Division in the Nov. 30 Pac-12 Championship Game. Last November when these teams met, Matt Barkley completed 35 of 42 passes for 423 yards with a career high-tying six touchdowns to lead USC to a 50-0 stomping of UCLA.

USC Game Notes:

  • USC Receiver Marqise Lee has the 2nd most receptions per game (9.8) in the country and has almost 1500 yards receiving plus 13 touchdowns.
  • 82nd meeting between the teams. USC has lost just once in the last 13 matchups against UCLA and has captured the past 5 meetings.
  • The Trojans are looking for their 11th consecutive season with 8 or more wins.
  • UCLA enters the game with a higher ranking than USC for the first time since 2001 and more wins than the Trojans for the first time since 2000.
  • They are also playing for the Victory Bell and points in the Crosstown Gauntlet standings.
  • USC calls the Rose Bowl their “Second Home” as they have made 32 Rose Bowl Game appearances (the most of any team) and combined with regular season games, this will be their 52nd game there.
  • Random, interesting fact: Both teams are wearing their home jerseys (that is, neither team will be in white)

And What About UCLA:

First-year UCLA head coach Jim Mora has led his team to their first five-game winning streak since 2005 when they began the season 8-0.  2005 was also the last time that UCLA and USC met as ranked opponents (USC won 66-19).

UCLA officials threatened to ban the USC band from performing at halftime if the drum major stabbed the field (as is tradition).  The drum major, Keith Yoerg, whose job it is made a statement criticizing UCLA for interfering with a USC bank tradition which takes place in every stadium “for 40 years, including Stanford, Cal, Note Dame, UCLA and bowl games.”

UCLA freshman quarterback Brett Hundley leads the 13th ranked offense in the nation.  He has been pretty careful with the ball, throwing 24 touchdowns compared to 9 interceptions.  He has also run for 6 touchdowns. And in the last four games, the Bruins have totaled 176 points, while averaging 446.3 yards of offense.[3]

Despite the turnovers, Marqise Lee was outstanding with 10 receptions for 161 yards and one touchdown. The sophomore has hauled in 38 passes for 663 yards and five TDs in three games, and couldn’t be stopped by UCLA last year — finishing with 13 receptions for 224 yards and two scores.