When UCLA and USC meet at the Coliseum this Saturday at 5 p.m., the Pacific 12 Conference South Division title will not be on the line, but the battle between the cross-town rivals will still be fierce.
The Bruins enter having lost to Arizona State by five points at the Rose Bowl, while the Trojans toyed with Colorado, 47-29 on the road.
USC’s fortunes began to perk up after getting pounded by the Sun Devils, 62-41 in Tempe after Athletic Director Pat Haden released Head Coach Lane Kiffin and replaced him with Ed Orgeron, who took over on an interim basis.
Under Orgeron the Trojans (9-3 and 6-2 in conference) have won six of seven games with the only loss a four-point setback to Notre Dame in South Bend. USC’s most impressive victory was a 20-17 decision against No. 5-ranked Stanford.
During that same span UCLA (8-3 and 5-3 in conference) has won four of seven after getting off to a 5-0 start under Head Coach Jim Mora Jr.
The Trojans are led by quarterback Cody Kessler, who has thrown for 2,449 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Kessler more than manages a game and his favorite targets are Nelson Agholor (47 catches for 789 yards with four touchdowns) and Marqise Lee (44 receptions for 604 yards and two scores).
USC’s ground attack is solid and paced by Tre Madden (688 yards with three touchdowns), but Javorius Allen has recently emerged and has 576 yards with a team-best 11 touchdowns.
Meanwhile Brett Hundley is UCLA’s field general and has accounted for 2,637 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine picks, and has the ability to scramble when necessary.
UCLA’s Paul Perkins has 536 yards on the ground with four touchdowns, Hundley 507 yards with a team-high seven rushing scores, while Jordan James has 471 yards and five touchdowns.
Hundley likes Shaquelle Evans (42 catches for 604 yards and eight touchdowns) and Devin Fuller (40 receptions for 453 yards and four scores).
If Allen has been USC’s surprise, Myles Jack, a linebacker, has done the same for the Bruins and has 265 yards with six touchdowns.
Dion Bailey leads USC with five interceptions and Su’a Cravens has four, while Ishmael Adams has four picks and Randall Goforth three for UCLA.