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Steve Sarkisian Previews USC versus UCLA

Steve Sarkisian and Jim Mora will prep for the mental battles that could define this weekend's Pac-12 South elimination game

This could be a program-defining game for Sarkisian and company.
This could be a program-defining game for Sarkisian and company.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian has been spending time extra time in the office the last few days prepping for the crosstown rival UCLA Bruins. Following what Sarkisian called a "fantastic performance" from his defense on Thursday night, limiting Cal to under 31 points for just the second time all season, USC prepares for UCLA's dual-threat leader Brett Hundley.

"It's really cool. I love college football because of this rivalry," Steve Sarkisian said of facing UCLA. "The key is that we handle our business during the week so we can put our best foot forward Saturday night."

The Trojans first task will be to stop Paul Perkins, the second-leading rusher in the Pac-12. If USC's front seven can continue their strong effort in stopping the run, the challenge turns to containing Hundley. While the Bruins offensive line has been hampered by inconsistency, the quick passing game has alleviated some pressure.

Facing a Bruins squad that is playing their "best brand of football" heading into Saturday night's contest, Sarkisian firmly believes playing 60 minutes of football will lead to ultimate success. That's the understatement of the year, especially considering USC has outscored opponents 129-22 in the first quarter but are being outscored in the fourth quarter of Pac-12 games this season.

Steve Sarkisian beat UCLA once as head coach of the Washington Huskies (2010) and he'd love to stop Brett Hundley from becoming just the second quarterback in Bruins history to beat USC in three-straight seasons (Cade McNown being the other).

As the sibling of two UCLA alums, Sarkisian certainly understands the nature of this rivalry. Enjoy this brief synopsis on what UCLA does well and how the Trojans plan on winning this weekend at the Rose Bowl. And to think even Jim Mora sends his own daughter to USC, this rivalry goes to the blood level.