What to watch: No. 9/11 UCLA vs. No. 19/24 USC

It’s finally here. UCLA will kick off against USC at 5 p.m., in a game that could change the tone of the entire season. Here’s what to watch heading into Jim Mora’s attempt at a third straight rivalry win.

UCLA offense vs. USC defense: Once again, UCLA’s fate will depend on how Brett Hundley performs. Headed to the NFL draft after this season, the redshirt junior has a chance to be the first Bruin quarterback to go 3-0 against the Trojans since Cade McNown did. (McNown remains the only one to go a perfect 4-0.)

Hundley’s passing totals in two games against USC won’t blow anyone away: 40 of 57, 442 yards, one touchdown. It’s his legs that have consistently cut through the Trojan defense. Seven times in his career, Hundley has rushed for two touchdowns in a single game. He has just one such performance this season — two weeks ago at Washington — but admitted earlier in the year that he had allowed NFL draft expectations to discourage him from running.

That he’s shed that burden is bad news for USC. Hundley has rushed for two touchdowns each time he’s faced the Trojans, and totaled 80 yards on the ground on 13 carries last season. He only had 18 yards against UW, but had averaged 106 through the four outings prior. Continue reading

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What’s at stake for UCLA in the USC rivalry game?

I was on SportsCenter briefly this week to talk about what this Saturday’s rivalry game will mean for UCLA.

Some more coverage from LANG this week:
» How does rivalry week hype compare to the national expectations UCLA faced just a few months ago?
» Could penalties loom again when UCLA takes the field against a team that averages even more flags per game?
» After being reinstated, what is USC defensive back Josh Shaw’s status this weekend?

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