Culver City Observer -

New USC, UCLA Quarterbacks Are In The Spotlight


November 17, 2016

Four months ago two top former high school quarterbacks were starting for UCLA and USC. Josh Rosen of UCLA and Max Browne of USC were two of the best quarterbacks coming out of high school and they were set to lead their perspective schools to the promised land. On Saturday both players will be on the sidelines when the teams take the field at the Rose Bowl at 7:30 p.m.

Rosen is recovering from shoulder surgery and Browne lost his starting job after the Trojans started the season 1-2. Now UCLA senior Mike Fafaul and USC redshirt freshman Sam Darnold will be under center for their schools.

UCLA has had trouble running the ball so it has turned to the pass especially after Rosen was injured against Arizona State on October 8. Fafaul has thrown the ball nearly 47 times a game but last week the running game resurfaced when the Bruins gained 163 yards on the ground.

If the 4-6 Bruins expect to upset the 7-3 and No. 13-ranked Trojans they will have to be able to run the ball and that won’t be easy because USC’s defense under the direction of defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast is playing its best football of the season.

Last week against Oregon State Fafaul completed 25 of 47 passes for 281 yards. He did not throw any touchdown passes but he didn’t have any interceptions either and that was good news for the Bruins.

Darnold, who has been outstanding so far this year, has thrown for 2161 yards and 22 touchdowns. His favorite targets are JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darius Rogers. Smith-Schuster has caught 51 passes for 682 yards and Rogers has 44 receptions for 571 yards.

Darnold can also beat you with legs. He is one of the better running quarterbacks in the Pac-12.

The Bruins need to win both of their remaining two games against USC and California on November 26 to go to a bowl game. The Trojans are trying to win their next two games against UCLA and Notre Dame on November 26 to make sure they are invited to an elite bowl game.


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