It’s USC vs. UCLA week. The Victory Bell is on the line. Beat the Bruins. Nothing else needs to be said. Here are the predictions from the staff of Conquest Chronicles.
Myles Pressey: USC 42 - UCLA 20
USC’s defense is going to shut down the running game of UCLA forcing Mike Fafaul to chuck the ball around all game. USC’s pass rush should force Fafaul, who already has 10 interceptions, to make some big mistakes. UCLA’s offense won’t be able to get in a rhythm. On the other side of the ball, USC will control the time of possession with their ground game against UCLA’s weak run defense. A successful run game should open up some big play opportunities for Juju Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers downfield. USC is one of the hottest teams in the country and they should continue on that trend this weekend.
kirvensolomon: USC 30 - UCLA 17
The USC offense is rolling thanks to Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones. I believe the defense will be fired up due to there huge win last week. With UCLA struggles at quarterback, they will struggle to find a rhythm and keep them in the game.
Nick Dempsey: USC 41 - UCLA 16
The Bruins have the second worst running game in the country. They have an inexperienced quarterback who has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. They needed two non-offensive touchdowns to beat Oregon State and break a 4-game losing streak. To put it mildly, UCLA is in a bit of a tough spot this season. On paper this is not much of a contest but the game is not played on paper and this is an intense rivalry.
It is possible Bruins QB Mike Fafaul comes out and has the absolute best game of his career. It is possible that Sam Darnold’s turnovers finally get the better of him and the offense. It is possible the Trojans could have an emotional let down after their huge win in Seattle. It is possible that the Bruins could finally manage to move the ball on the ground. Plenty of things that seem improbable are still possible in a rivalry game but UCLA’s best chance is for the improbable to happen on Saturday night. You cannot really like those odds. USC is just playing too well right now and has too many things going right for them for me to think that UCLA can make much of a game of this.
Julian Lopez: USC 50 - UCLA 21
The only way UCLA can win if is Takk McKinley can play offense, defense, and special teams for the Bruins on Saturday. The Bruins can’t run the ball. Mike Fafaul is a decent quarterback but USC will force him to make a ton of mistakes and I see him throwing at least 3 Ints on Saturday. The Trojans might struggle with running the ball at first but Sam Darnold is due for another great game with the Bruins likely having a lot of three and outs.
Matthew Lowry: USC 45 - UCLA 21
On Paper this should be a run away for the Trojans, but for rivalry games we tend to learn to expect the unexpected. I don’t think this week will be one of those moments. UCLA is just outmatched on both sides of the ball. This will be one of those games where we see USC flex their muscles and win this game. I do expect the Bruins defense to give the USC offense some trouble at the beginning, but as we’ve seen the Trojans offense is hard to stop once they start clicking.
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Joseph Kavaloski: USC 38 - UCLA 13
With how USC’s defense has been playing since the Utah game, the Bruins are going to have all sorts of problems putting the ball in the endzone. Mike Fafaul has recorded one fewer touchdown than his 10 interceptions, and the UCLA running game has been equally ineffective with their top two rushers averaging 3.9 and 4 yards per carry. That is not a good combination especially against a USC defense which held Washington to only one touchdown which came when Adoree Jackson slipped on a deep route. Offensively, things should not be much different. The Bruins have had their moments this season even holding Colorado to only 20 points on the road, but there have also been games such as the Utah game where UCLA gave up a whopping 52 points at the Rose Bowl. Ultimately, the USC offense is in rhythm right now and should be a handful for UCLA. A rivalry game such as this one will always be intense but the likelihood of UCLA staying close with the Trojans for 60 minutes is very unlikely. Clay Helton takes home his second straight victory in the crosstown rivarly.
Darrien Starling: USC 41 - UCLA 17
USC is playing like a top-4 college football playoff team right now, and I don’t believe a high emotion rivalry game will have any affect on their execution. The Trojans have been strong on the offensive side of the ball, in spite of their frequent turnovers. Sam Darnold will need to perform well, but I expect the running game to really push USC over the hump. SC’s defense has been great as of late as well. I expect them to continue thriving and forcing turnovers. The Trojans are on fire and I don’t see any team extinguishing their flames any time soon.
Steve Walter: USC 27 - UCLA 10
These two teams may be neighbors, but they are miles apart in quality. The Trojan defense played their best game of the season last week against Washington, and it’s hard to see the Josh Rosen-less Bruins doing much in this one. UCLA’s defense, however, might put up a fight against Ronald Jones and red-hot USC running game. Trojans will find enough just enough big plays to keep UCLA at a distance. Pac-12 after dark tends to be crazy, but not tonight. USC takes it by at least two scores.