clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

USC-UCLA Power Rankings: Week 4

Reviewing the on-field hits and misses for L.A. teams after Week 4 of the 2010 college football season. Both the Trojans and Bruins secured blowout victories, but who measured up and who's backsliding?

Trending Up:

1.  UCLA's secondary. Fledgling Texas QB Garrett Gilbert threw for over 250 yards, but Bruins Nation explains how that didn't do the Longhorns much good:

It was the physicality of the UCLA secondary, both in run support and in coverage that forced Texas to first abandon the run and then resort to short passes that allowed the linebackers and defensive line to put the blinders on.

Going into Week 4, we said this was a game where very point would count. Both sides of the ball made very sure Texas paid. And speaking of the linebackers, somebody took notice -- Akeem Ayers is the reigning Lott IMPACT Player of the Week.

2.  Stanley Havili. The Trojans staff really turned the senior fullback loose for the first time since the Hawaii game, and he responded by amassing 80 yards on just four carries, including a 59-yard touchdown hurtle, plus 107 yards receiving on five catches. That's nine touches for 187 yards and two scores. Efficient! The rest of running-back-by-committee wasn't too shabby, either -- Havili wasn't even the most prolific Trojan on the ground Saturday. Elder statesman Allen Bradford added 84 yards, and newbie Dillon Baxter racked up an additional 75. They should absolutely obliterate the Huskies' 110th-ranked rushing defense next week.

3.  UCLA's ball control. The short passes weren't the only thing keeping Gilbert's high aerial output from having more impact:

For several years the UCLA defense has spent what seemed like hours on the field, resulting in their being gassed at the end of the game. The offense played a big part in it because they couldn't put together a drive, but the defense didn't help itself out any by failing to get third down stops. On Saturday, the Bruins allowed the Longhorns to convert on just six of their 14 third down tries and forced five turnovers to keep the Longhorn defense on the field.

Four of those turnovers came in the first half. Texas is billed as a slow-starting team these days, but that's just inappropriate against any opponent.

4.  USC's special teams. The Trojans rank 7th nationally in punt returns, averaging close to 18 yards per return. They're also No. 21 in net punting, a shade under 40 yards per punt. As the higher-scoring teams in the Pac-10 edge closer on the opponent calendar, little things like this will magnify in importance.

5.  UCLA's sticker value.  What business did the Bruins of early September have fielding a top-20 rushing offense and thoroughly beating two ranked teams in a row, one on the road? Less than none, which is part of what makes college football so exasperatingly irresistible.

6.  USC's bloodlust. This is the big win this program has needed -- not in terms of stature, but in terms of scoreboard. Momentum of any type will help with the vast balance of the tricky parts of this schedule still ahead. Washington waits, and they won a year ago, and nobody on either side has forgotten that no matter how shaky the Huskies looked this month.

Trending Down:

7.  "Rout 66" can now be laid to rest, right? Lookit these new Bruins! Lookit their pair of marquee wins! Forget that crummy spelling! (Seriously, we get it, but the omission of that "e" has bothered us for years.)

8.  USC's ball control. Three turnovers in the first half is unacceptable no matter the opponent, no? Fix that.

9.  UCLA's air game. That No. 20 ground game is complemented by the dead-last national ranking in pass efficiency. Prince attempted eight passes, but was sacked four times. Blame to all sides; the receivers still don't entirely look all there. It'll be their turn to beat out a tuneup on Washington State next week, however, so perhaps they can air it out a bit (although Matt Barkley was picked off twice by the Cougar secondary, so your mileage may vary).

10. USC's secondary.  256 passing yards from Washington State? Look, a blowout is a blowout, but this'll very much need to not be an issue next week. Jake Locker looks bad right now, but even he's not THAT bad.