Sam Darnold vs Josh Rosen
While they won’t line up and play one v one this weekend, this matchup has been highly anticipated by most. Two young, talented quarterbacks with the potential to have lasting legacies in both college and professional ball. Many NFL scouts will fill the seats to watch the gunslingers face off. So far this season Rosen has completed 62 percent of his passes (237 of 381) for 3094 yards with 21 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Darnold has completed 63 percent of his passes (243 of 383) for 3198 yards, 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. While both will deny the magnitude of this game, deep down you know each understands the opportunity presented to them. Expect both to ball out on Saturday.
Iman Marshall vs Christian Pabico
Although Jack Jones has become the most consistent corner for USC this year and WR Darren Andrews is the #1 target for UCLA this year, the more enticing matchup is between former high school teammates. Pabico has caught 14 passes this season for 248 yards (17.7 average) and a touchdown. Marshall has been known for his big playmaking ability in the Trojan secondary, but has lacked consistent man coverage. Both Pabico and Marshall shared they only had positive text messages between the two heading into the matchup, but expect each to have a little extra motivation on the gridiron, especially in a TrojansBruins clash.
Bolu Olorunfunmi vs Cameron Smith
Bolu Olorunfunmi, the 5’10 215 lbs, back is the Bruins go-to option in the run game. Olorunfunmi has 89 carries on the season, going for 484 yards (5.4 ypc) and five touchdowns. While he is not a home run threat (longest run this season: 47 yards), his solid frame and effort helps grind out yards throughout the game. That presence can help to wear down an opponent's defense as the game goes along. In steps Cameron Smith. Smith has 87 tackles on the year, eight of them for loss, half a sack, fumble recovery, and an interception so far this season. Him and Olorunfunmi will become well acquainted Saturday, provided the defensive front doesn’t allow the Bruins offensive line to get to the second level all day. If Smith can lead the charge on solid tackling, the Trojan defense could force the Bruins into difficult third down situations, putting that much pressure on Rosen to perform on a big stage.
A little more than 48 hours until we find out who will win each matchup, Fight On!