The No. 18 USC Trojans and No. 17 UCLA Bruins battle for Los Angeles bragging rights and the Pac-12 South title as the two teams square off in the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
The winner of the game locks up the Pac-12 South title and earns a birth in the conference's championship game on Nov. 30. USC has dominated the rivalry the past few seasons, winning the last five games by a combined score of 158-35. UCLA has played well recently, winning its last four contests to enter the game ranked higher than the Trojans for the first time since 2001.
The AP ranked USC as the preseason No. 1, so the team has fallen short of their expectations. The Trojan offense is still dangerous and capable of scoring on anyone. Quarterback Matt Barkley has completed 64.8% of his passes this season, throwing for 2972 yards, 33 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions. Marqise Lee has been Barkley's favorite target, hauling in 98 receptions for 1447 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Bruins will look to force turnovers against the Trojan offense to slow them down. USC is tied for last in the Pac-12 with 26 turnovers, while the UCLA defense has forced 25 this season, including 13 interceptions.
The UCLA offense has had an impressive season as well, and is ranked 21st in the country in average points per game, compared to USC's 26th. The Bruins own a balanced offensive attack, led by freshman quarterback Brett Hundley. Hundley has thrown for 24 touchdowns this season while only throwing nine interceptions. He's also rushed for six touchdowns on the year. Johnathan Franklin is the Bruins' leading rusher, running for 1270 yards on only 199 carries this season, and has eight rushing touchdowns.
Game Time: Saturday, Nov. 17; 12:05 p.m. PT
Location: Rose Bowl; Los Angeles, Calif.
Odds: USC is favored by three points.