Tale of the Tape: Breaking down UCLA-USC Position by Position

This is a huge post, so I don’t want to clutter the first page.
Check after the jump for a one-by-one look at the UCLA/USC matchup.

Quarterback
Kevin Prince vs. Matt Barkley
First look: Barkley has nearly twice as many touchdowns as Prince, but also twice as many interceptions. Prince is much more mobile, outgaining Barkley 131 yards to negative-37.
Quick hit: Prince is on the rise while Barkley has fallen fast. Pretty much a draw at this point.

Running backs
Chane Moline/Derrick Coleman/Johnathan Franklin vs. Joe McKnight/Allen Bradford
First look: USC’s two best backs have combined for 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns; UCLA’s have gained 895 yards and 10 scores.
Quick hit: Both teams have fumbling issues and have been inconsistent on the ground. Edge to USC on McKnight’s breakaway ability.

Wideouts:
Nelson Rosario/Taylor Embree/Terrence Austin vs. Damien Williams/Brice Butler/Ronald Johnson
First Look: UCLA’s trio outgained USC’s 1,514 to 1,172; however, the Trojans have eight scores to UCLA’s six.
Quick Hit: The Bruin passing game has blossomed in the final quarter of the season, but can it stand up? At this point, with USC’s speed advantage and UCLA’s production advantage, call it a draw.

Offensive Line:
First Look: The Bruins have allowed 26 sacks to USC’s 14 and the Trojans rank 34th nationally in rushing to UCLA’s 98th.
Quick Hit: Although the Bruins’ young unit is improving, they’re still far behind the Trojans. Advantage: USC.

Tight End:
Logan Paulsen/Ryan Moya vs. Anthony McCoy
First Look: McCoy has 17 catches for 382 yards and a score; UCLA’s duo has a combined 512 yards but no scores.
Quick Hit: McCoy is more of a deep threat, averaging more than 22 yards per catch, but Paulsen and Moya have been extremely valuable midfield targets, and have been Kevin Prince’s escape valves time and time again. Give this one to UCLA.

Defensive Line:
First Look: This begins and ends with Brian Price, one of the best players in the country regardless of position.
Quick Hit: USC has 74 total tackles for loss while UCLA has 86. Price alone has 20.5 and Datone Jones and Korey Bosworth are both in double digits. Another one to UCLA.

Linebackers:
Reggie Carter/Akeem Ayers/Kyle Bosworth vs. Michael Morgan/Chris Galippo/Malcolm Smith
First Look: UCLA’s ABC crew has 163 tackles, 24 TFL, 7 sacks, 3 INT and three fumble recoveries. USC’s corps has 150 tackles, 22.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 2 INT and zero FRs.
Quick Hit: Though often out of position, the Bruins have taken strides to righting the ship in recent weeks. Because of Akeem Ayers’ recent big play ability – HUGE play ability – this is pretty even.

Defensive Backs:
Alterraun Verner/Rahim Moore/Tony Dye/Sheldon Price vs. Kevin Thomas/Taylor Mays/Will Harris/Josh Pinkard
First Look: Verner and Moore have combined for 13 interceptions and 10 pass breakups and Dye has a respectable 62 tackles. Mays and Co. have been efficient but not prolific, with solid tackle numbers but just five interceptions.
Quick Hit: Teams haven’t thrown much on the veteran USC unit which features four seniors. Meanwhile, Price has been picked on time and time again. But UCLA’s young group – Verner is the only upperclassmen; Moore and Dye are sophomores and Price a freshman – has shown true big-play ability. Another draw in my book.

Kicking:
Kai Forbath/Jeff Locke vs. Jordan Congdon/Jacob Harfman
First Look: Don’t even need one.
Quick Hit: Forbath and Locke get the advantage over ANY group in the country.

Coaching:
Rick Neuheisel/Norm Chow/Chuck Bullough vs. Pete Carroll/Jeremy Bates/Rocky Seto
First Look: Chow vs. Carroll, Rd. 2
Quick Hit: This is a tough one to call. Bates and Seto are “relatively” inexperienced, as is Bullough. So really, it’s Rick and Norm vs. Pete. Pete’s defense is playing at its worst in years, and UCLA’s offense clicked in three straight games before sputtering against Arizona State last week. A slight, slight nod to USC.

Overall:
First Look: UCLA is playing well, USC is playing poorly but coming off a bye week.
Quick Hit: USC 20, UCLA 19, as the offensive inability to punch it in will lead to several Kai Forbath field goals. But this one should be close…

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  • Anonymous

    Hey, if you’re going to predict such a close game, why not just give us the win? Eh? :)

    Thanks for posting this. Despite bleeding blue and gold since I was born, I have to disagree with some of your decisions in draws and who holds the upper hand. SUC has disgustingly better WRs, and significantly better RBs. We do have momentum, albeit against 3 bad teams, but we’re facing a HUGE uphill battle. Our inability to find a consistent great RB hurts our chances more than most people recognize. And you’re right in pointing out that our inability all season to punch the damn ball into the inzone puts us at a disadvantage. We need to put up 7s, take some risks in order to win. I think our chances rest with giving the ball to Franklin and trusting him not to fumble. We need to play BY FAR the best game of our season in order to pull this off.

    I’ll be there tomorrow night. Anybody else?! GO BRUINS!

  • jaytphillips

    I’d give the secondary and special teams edge to ucla. The only other group even up for debate may be the linebackers.

    Fight On. Beat the bRuins!

  • Anonymous

    Hahaha what a homer! Hilarious!

  • Vic the Brick

    John Gold isn’t a big follower of the unbiassed reporter theory… at least not compared to Brian Dohn.