The USC Trojans finished up their work week by finalizing their red zone game plan as they normally do on Thursdays. The Trojans also spent extra time on special teams. Helton cited UCLA Bruins returner Ishmael Adams as one of the most slippery they’ve seen.
Giving up special teams touchdowns are normally bad because they can cause havoc by providing easy points and huge momentum swings particularly in a rivalry game. The UCLA offense is struggling right now and special teams or other non offensive touchdowns will be critical for UCLA to win. Spending the extra time to prevent Adams from breathing life into the Bruins by providing them with much needed points is extremely beneficial to the Trojans’ chances of success.
If you prevent big plays on special teams, and the UCLA run game continues to struggle that will put all of the pressure to win the game on Mike Fafaul the Bruins quarterback. Fafaul has more interceptions than touchdowns currently and the USC defense continues to cause all sorts of havoc for quarterbacks like Jake Browning and Davis Webb. In other words, UCLA is going to try and help their inexperienced QB in any way they can and the Trojans are going to try and take that help away.
Both offenses are similarly poor in the red zone. The Trojans have scored 29 touchdowns and 6 field goals out of 44 trips to the red zone this season. That is good for 95th out of 128 teams. UCLA has 28 scores (8 fgs) out of 36 trips which ranks 104 in the nation.
USC has the 41st best red zone defense allowing 18 touchdowns and 6 field goals out of 30 trips to the red zone. The UCLA Bruins have the 81st best red zone defense allowing 20 touchdowns and 12 field goals on 37 trips. The Trojans could have a huge advantage here in the red zone forcing UCLA to take field goals while the Trojans put up touchdowns in red zone opportunities.
A business like attitude
Helton stated that the team has taken a playoff mentality into every game they have played while they have been on this winning streak and they continue to do so against UCLA this week. Helton also elaborated on the workman like approach the team is taking lately. Every player knows they have a job to do and they have to go execute if they want to win. The theme has been the higher the emotions get the lower your IQ gets. Having said that Helton stated that every week they take the approach that they are playing the most important game of their lives.
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