First look: UCLA at USC

USC quarterback Sam Darnold (14) in the second half of a NCAA college football game against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. USC Trojans won 36-14. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

UCLA (5-5, 3-4 Pac-12) at No. 11 USC (9-2, 7-1 Pac-12)
Saturday, Nov. 18 | 5 p.m. PT | L.A. Coliseum
TV: ABC
Radio: AM 1150 or AM 570

Scouting report

USC sewed up its second Pac-12 South title in three years last weekend with its 38-24 win over Colorado. The Trojans built up a commanding 27-0 lead before giving up 14 straight points in the third quarter, which injected a fleeting moment of drama into the battle between the two previous Pac-12 South champions.

While winning three straight games since a demoralizing loss to Notre Dame, quarterback Sam Darnold has thrown for 906 yards and seven touchdowns, completing 63 percent of his passes. Running back Ronald Jones is also surging with 184 rushing yards per game in the past three games.

The Trojans leads the Pac-12 in sacks (36), but UCLA just neutralized Arizona State, which entered last week’s game as the second-leading sack team in the Pac-12. The Bruins didn’t give up a single sack last week for the first time in a game this season.

UCLA hasn’t won a conference game on the road in two years while the Trojans have a 15-game home winning streak.

Series history

Jim Mora has lost two straight to USC after he started his career with three consecutive rivalry wins.

UCLA took two seven-point leads in the first half last year with backup quarterback Mike Fafaul, but the Bruins then gave up 29 unanswered points in an eventual 36-14 blowout.

This will be the first matchup between Darnold and UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen after Rosen missed last year’s game with a shoulder injury. Rosen did not fare well in his rivalry debut as he was sacked three times and committed three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble that was recovered for a USC touchdown) as a true freshman in 2015.

USC leads the all-time series 46-31-7.

Players to watch

— QB Sam Darnold (243-383, 3,198 yards, 24 TDs, 11 INTs)

Darnold struggled with interceptions early in the season, but has thrown only three in the past six games.

— RB Ronald Jones (184 carries, 1,224 yards, 14 TDs)

The running back from Texas rushed for 121 yards against UCLA last year, including 60 on a third-and-1 in the second quarter that broke the game open. He is sixth on UCLA’s list of all-time rushers.

— DL Rasheem Green (36 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks)

The Gardena Serra product leads the Trojans in sacks and recovered a fumble for a touchdown in 2015.

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  • Hogsman

    Wow, I didn’t know Ronald Jones was that high up on UCLA’s list…

    Glad that Rosen had a good game vs. ASU and seems to be relatively healthy, all things considered. Hope the coaches pull out all the stops to try to win this one, because I’d much prefer them beating Southern Cal over beating Cal and going to a crappy bowl game.

    • Sandy Underpants

      I’d like to see us in any bowl. Golly, we’ve only won 2 this decade and 5 in the whole millennium. Good news is, there’s still 982 seasons left in the millennium.

  • ANDYISWINNNNNING!!!!

    u❗️
    clowns❗️
    lose❗️
    again❗️

    5-6❗️

    ✌️Hee✌️Hee✌️Hee✌️‼️

  • UCLA Dynasty

    Given what I’ve seen from $c’s secondary, we can win this thing if we just get some stops on D. We’re going to score a ton on these guys. 49-34 UCLA.

  • Sandy Underpants

    In the immortal words of Captain James T. Kirk “I take it the odds are against us and the situation is grim. Sounds like Fun!” Of course Kirk died right after that *spoiler alert*.