Game Of The Week: UCLA At USC
UCLA (6-5, 5-3 Pac-12) at USC (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12)
7:00 p.m. PT on FSN
UCLA players to watch:
QB #4 Kevin Prince, JR
This dual-threat athlete has been on fire lately, throwing four TDs last week versus Colorado as he gains more confidence with every start since taking over for the injured Richard Brehaut in week six.
RB #23 Johnathan Franklin, JR
One of the more underrated runners in the land, Franklin has rushed for 875 yards with an impressive 6.1 average per carry. The fast and explosive junior needs to be featured more as he seems to get stronger late in the game. He shows an excellent burst in the open field.
WO #83 Nelson Rosario, SR
The 6-foot-5 pass catcher leads the Bruins with 48 grabs but only 2 TDs. Has very good quickness as a route runner for a tall guy and can be a true mismatch down the field versus much smaller DB's. A dependable 3rd down option who can go up and get the ball strong in traffic.
NT #98 Seali'i Epenesa, SO
This 325-pound run stuffer is getting more playtime as the season progresses and shows excellent strength at the point of attack with an ability to play on his feet and take on double team blocks with brute strength.
LB #11 Sean Westgate, SR
The four down defender is a very good athlete who can run and make plays from sideline to sideline in both run and pass game. He is an intense player who shows up constantly around the football. What he lacks in size he makes up for in football instincts.
USC players to watch:
QB #7 Matt Barkley, JR
There is not a hotter QB in the country right now as Barkley is hitting on 67% of his throws to go along with 33 TDs and only 7 INTs. His anticipation and accuracy are both top notch.
WO #2 Robert Woods, SO
I would take Woods over any receiver in the country including Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, who gets more hype nationally. Has great hands but what really separates him is his run after the catch ability.
RB #22 Curtis McNeal, JR
Has that unusual quickness which is very hard for any defense to contain. Only 5-foot-7, McNeal has come on strong the latter part of the season with close to 600 yards rushing in the Trojans last five games.
DE #8 Nick Perry, JR
The Pac-12 sack leader makes a lot of plays on sheer hustle and determination. Has a nose for the ball, especially inside running plays. Sheds blockers quickly and finds the football consistently. Impact defender.
DC #21 Nickell Robey, SO
Explosive in movement, this kid could easily have five or six picks due to his closing speed. Teams shy away from him as his ability to shadow receivers is top notch. He is a big play waiting to happen type who jumps out on tape.
The USC Trojans are playing as well as any team in the country right now. They are loaded with talent on both sides of the football and have an outstanding QB in Matt Barkley as well as arguably the best receiver in the land in Robert Woods. With freshman sensation WO Marqise Lee on the opposite side, this combination will be very difficult for UCLA to handle. The Bruins secondary has really missed safety Tony Dye, who has been out most of the year with injuries. They also lack premiere pass rushers so Barkley should have plenty of time to throw. The Trojan offensive line is both big and athletic.
UCLA QB Kevin Prince is playing outstanding football right now and is a threat as a runner as much as passer. His 163 yards rushing versus Cal was not a fluke as he is extremely fast and athletic in the open field and has a great feel for when to pull it down and run. The Bruins must get talented RB Johnathan Franklin more carries early in an effort to control the clock and keep the Trojan offense off the field. The Bruins have a seasoned offensive line led by OT Mike Harris and 320-pound center Kai Maiava and can open holes even against a talented USC front. This ground game will be key as the Bruins must stay on the field and extend drives while eating up the clock instead of going three and out and putting the ball back in Matt Barkley's hands. The Bruins receivers lack speed but are tall and can create some mismatches down the field, especially 6-foot-8 TE Joe Fauria as well as 6-foot-5 WO Nelson Rosario. These guys will have to play their best and make some big plays against some very talented USC secondary players.