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CFB Week 13: Previewing Tonight’s USC-UCLA Showdown

November 22, 2014 • Ben Heck • Front Page, NCAA, Predictions, Preview

Tonight’s primetime Top 25 showdown between two of the top PAC-12 teams––No. 24 USC and No. 11 UCLA, according to the AP’s Top 25 rankings––isn’t likely to have any impact on the inaugural College Football Playoff, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a must-watch match-up, featuring plenty of NFL-bound athletes.

In what is one of college football’s biggest rivalries, USC/UCLA will meet for the 82nd official time this evening at the Rose Bowl. We’ve put together a quick preview of the game for you, including Players to Watch, and the scores from the last five meeting between these two schools:

#24 University of Southern California (7-3; 6-2 in PAC-12) at #11 University of California-Los Angeles (8-2; 5-2 in PAC-12)

Kick-off: 8 P.M. ET (5 P.M. local time) on ABC
Series Record: USC leads series 44-30-7, dating back to a 76-0 victory in 1929 in their first-ever meeting.

Last five Match-ups (USC 3-2):

2009: USC 28, UCLA 7
2010: USC 28, UCLA 14
2011: USC 50, UCLA 0
2012: UCLA 38, USC 28
2013: UCLA 35, USC 14

Players to Watch (2014 stats):

USC

QB Cody Kessler: 70.2 %, 2,919 yards, 29 TD, 3 INT, 169.0 QB rating
RB Javorius Allen: 217 carries, 1,184 yards, 8 TD (5.5 YPC); 32 catches, 383 yards, 1 TD
WR Nelson Agholor: 82 catches, 1,079 yards, 10 TD; 2 PR touchdowns
DE Leonard Williams: 62 total tackles (8.5 TFL), 6.0 sacks, 3 FF, 1 INT
LB J.R. Tavai: 41 total tackles (7.5 TFL), 3.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 2 FF
S Su’a Cravens: 52 total tackles (14.0 TFL), 5.0 sacks, 8 PBU, 2 INT

UCLA

QB Brett Hundley: 72.1 %, 2,547 yards, 17 TD, 4 INT, 158.0 QB rating
RB Paul Perkins: 190 carries, 1,172 yards, 6 TD (6.2 YPC); 24 catches, 198 yards, 2 TD
WR Jordan Payton: 59 catches, 844 yards, 7 TD
DL Owamagbe Odighizuwa: 45 total tackles (7.5 TFL), 3.0 sacks, 3 PBU
LB Eric Kendricks: 114 total tackles (6.0 TFL), 2.0 sacks, 2 INT, 1 FF, 2 PBU, 1 TD
CB Anthony Jefferson: 51 total tackles (1.0 TFL), 7 PBU, 1 INT

Our Prediction:

Kessler has led this USC Trojans offense to 30+ points seven times this season, winning five of those seven games, and are 2-1 against Top 25 teams this season. But the two-loss UCLA Bruins––also 2-1 against Top 25 teams this season––is currently riding a four-game win streak and has scored 40+ points in two of their last three games.

The Bruins have been a very hot team ever since falling to No. 3 Oregon (42-30) on October 11. Over that span, Hundley has led the Bruins offense to 34.3 points per game, passing for 255.3 yards/game with 6 touchdowns, one interception and a 72% completion percentage (103/143).

I predict Hundley and head coach Jim Mora Jr.’s Bruins continue their hot streak tonight against the No. 37 scoring defense of the USC Trojans, winning this one 28-24.

Photo: Getty Images

Stats: courtesy of college-footballreference.com and official school websites.

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