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USC Trojans vs UCLA Bruins: Keys to The Game

Some keys to a USC victory over UCLA.

USC v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

USC returns to the L.A. Coliseum to host their crosstown rival the UCLA Bruins in a primetime match up. Most of the attention will be on the Josh Rosen/Sam Darnold match-up.

Pressure Josh Rosen: This is very important for the Trojans in tonight’s game. Last week the USC pass rush was close to non-existent against Colorado. The Trojans can’t allow for Rosen to get comfortable in the pocket and attempt to pick the Trojans apart. USC has to pressure Rosen, make him uncomfortable, don’t give him time at all. USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will have a plan to dial up some pressure.

Keep Your Foot On The Gas: I don’t know what it is with the Trojans and letting up with a huge lead, but the last two weeks they’ve allowed a huge lead to shrink. If USC gets a lead on UCLA, THEY NEED TO STAY ON THEM!! Most remember the comeback against Texas A&M at the beginning of the season, that’s something you don’t want to happen. USC needs to keep their foot on the gas going forward. Do that and the rest will be history.

Stay Disciplined: Even though this is a Rivalry game and most of the players have played with or against each other in High School, USC has to play disciplined football. The Pac-12 officiating crew isn’t the best out there, but the Trojans can’t allow to make it easy for them to throw the flags either. USC can’t allow penalties to put them in long down situations or continue UCLA drives.

Run The Ball!: UCLA is horrendous against the run. They rank dead last in the nation against the run, giving up 302.3 per game. That’s pretty bad. USC running back Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr will see a good chunk of carries, especially when you face a defense that bad. Run the ball and don’t over analyze it.

Protect The Ball: Earlier I mentioned rivalry games tend to have a lot of emotions, they also have a lot of momentum shifts too. USC needs to protect the ball and not allow UCLA to have any type of momentum. It’s simple for the Trojans, protect the ball and you should put up a lot of points against a Bruins defense who allows a lot of touchdowns.