USC Trojans quarterback JT Daniels has been having a consistent season with occasional growing pains so far, while the UCLA Bruins quarterback, Wilton Speight, has only played five games this season. The Trojans look to win their sixth game of the season and clinch a bowl berth, but the Bruins have other things in mind.
Analyzing JT Daniels
The Trojans lost for the fifth time last week against Cal, evening their record at 5-5. The last time the Trojans lost five games in a season was the pre-Helton era, when Steve Sarkisian was at the helm. Daniels is not looking to make it six losses this week however, as he prepares to take on the 2-8 Bruins, who have not been having the best of seasons.
After having a fantastic game at Oregon State, Daniels did not fare so well taking on Cal’s defense this past week. Throwing for 180 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, Cal’s defense held Daniels to a quarterback rating of 35.4, something that Daniels hopes to improve. Cal’s defense had Daniels consistently on his toes; forcing him to scramble and avoid the rush on almost every play. Cal was able to sack Daniels an unprecedented four times. If Daniels hopes to carry his team to a bowl game, he will have to improve his pocket presence and his down field awareness.
On the season, Daniels has 1,986 yards, which is already a big accomplishment for the true freshman. Daniels was bound to encounter some difficulties in his first season, but overall, he has been one of the reasons why the Trojans are in the position they are in now. His 11-8 touchdown to interception ratio might not be the most eye-opening stat, but Daniels has been continually adjusting to opposing defenses all season. The Trojans just have to hope that Daniels will adjust to the Bruins defense as well.
Analyzing Wilton Speight
The Bruins have not been having one of their most memorable seasons. As a matter of fact, this season might be one UCLA might want to forget about. Sitting at the bottom of the Pac-12, the Bruins hope they can produce at least some bright spots in their remaining two games of the season. They hope one of these bright spots is spoiling the Trojans’ chance of making it to a bowl game, and to win back the victory bell.
The Bruins have had questions at quarterback this year, with both Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Wilton Speight sharing time as the signal caller. Speight has been playing in most of the games the second half of the season, while Thompson-Robinson has played the majority of the first half. The Bruins will rely on Speight however, to lead the Bruins to victory against USC.
This is Speight’s only season as a Bruin, as he is in his graduate transfer season. However, he has shown some bright moments this year. Last week against the Arizona State Sun Devils, Speight threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns while completing 74.3 percent of his passes. Even though the Bruins lost, Speight was able to keep the game close and put 28 points on the board. If he and Bruins wish to win their game against their crosstown rivals, Speight will have to play at that same high level and hope that his defense will do the same.