Brett Hundley, poised and mature beyond his years. The 19 year old “savior” will be on the biggest stage of his young career on Saturday. UCLA fans love that the team has eight wins so far, but number nine would be the sweetest. Hundley has met and exceeded all expectations thus far in his young career, but the biggest test lies ahead.
The USC defensive will be looking to ruin Brett Hundley’s fairy tale story on Saturday. Led by junior college transfer Morgan Breslin, the USC defense has 37 sacks on the season. USC also has 18 interceptions on the season.
So what’s the plan, Brett?
The key for Hundley and for the entire Bruins offense is to avoid negative plays. Sacks, TFL, and INT’s have kept the USC defense respectable on the season. If you dig deeper into the stats, you see that despite only giving up 23.5 points per game, the USC defense gives up almost 400 yards per game.
The problem certainly isn’t stopping the running game. The Trojans give up only 3.9 yards per carry. So despite Jonathan Franklin being the obvious leader of the Bruins offense, it will come down to the arm of Brett Hundley.
USC’s pass defense hasn’t been as good, but neither has the rest of the conference. USC gives up 242 yards per game through the air and have given up 17 passing touchdowns, which is the 5th most in the conference.
Now, if you bring all those stats together, USC ranks 6th in the Pac 12 in passing defense, 6th in rushing defense, and 5th in scoring defense. The key to scoring is simple. Beat an average defense.
For comparison sake, the much maligned UCLA defense ranks 9th in passing defense, 4th in rushing defense, and 7th in scoring defense.
Statistics may tell a lot, but the deciding factor in every rivalry game is which team can deal with their emotions and execute. Both teams have strong offenses, with UCLA’s being slightly superior statistically. Both teams have average defenses, with USC’s being a bit better statistically.
On Saturday, it will come down to who can block out all the outside distractions and focus for three and a half hours on punishing their opponent. It’s going to be a good one, folks.