UCLA and USC Play Home Football Games on Saturday
September 5, 2019
UCLA and USC football teams go into their respective games on Saturday with a lot of questions marks. The main questions are can USC win with a backup quarterback and can UCLA get their first win after looking like the same team that won only three games last year?
UCLA will face San Diego State at the Rose Bowl on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. and USC will open their Pac-12 season when they play Stanford at 7:30 p.m. at the United Airlines Field at the Memorial Coliseum.
UCLA 's 24-14 loss to Cincinnati last week looked like so many of the games last year when they Bruins appeared to be confused. The defense, offense and special teams made a lot of mistakes. Hopefully, Saturday UCLA can regroup and look like a well-coached team that Bruin fans are expecting to see under head coach Chip Kelly.
Some of the UCLA's key players were missing because of injuries but well coached teams are expected to have their back up players ready to step in and do the job. Running back Joshua Kelly, receiver Theo Howard and defensive back Darnay Holmes were three key players that missed the game last week and all three players could have made a difference.
Even if those players are ready to suit up this week the UCLA quarterback, Dorian Thompson-Robinson has to play better. He was responsible for four turnovers last week and some those mistakes gave Cincinnati great field position. The Bruins are not good enough right now to be able to recover from turnovers.
Although USC won their game against Fresno State last Saturday night 31-23, they needed a last second interception in the end zone by Isaiah Polas-Mao to preserve the victory.
"We have a lot to do and a lot to fix before the next game," said USC head coach Clay Helton after the game on Saturday.
On the bright side the running backs Vavae Malepeai and Stephen Carr had productive nights. Malepeai ran for 135 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown and Carr ran for 56 yards on six carries and one touchdown. Carr also caught six passes for 43 yards and one touchdown.
When asked about how he likes this offense after working under different offensive coordinators the past few years Malepeai replied, "I'm not sure about other offenses but I am having fun in this offense."
Malepeai also feels good about the confidence his head coach has in the running backs. When the Trojans are in a short yardage situation Helton does not hesitate to call their number. "It's the best feeling in the world to have a head coach that's always going to bet on you no matter what."
Another Trojan who had a big game was wide receiver and kick returner Velus Jones Jr. Jones returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the second half.
"I was looking for an open hole but I could not have done it without my brothers blocking for me," said Jones.
Jones is always looking to take it all the way.
"That's the confidence I have in myself," Jones said. "I know that every time I touch the ball, I can take one back. At the end of the day I will do anything I can to make my team successful."
The Trojans will need a strong running game against Stanford because they will start a true freshman at quarterback in Kedon Slovis. The 6'1 200-pound player from Scottsdale, Arizona stepped in for injured starter JT Daniels last week in the second half and he made enough plays to help USC win the game.
"I told him let's go do this, "said Helton. "For him to walk out there and execute the offense was great. He did the things to win. I appreciate him and now it's about him getting better this week."
Playing against USC was another true freshman, Jamal Glaspie from Culver City High School. The former Centaur football and track star played wide receiver for Fresno State.
"He is doing great," said Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford after the game on Saturday. "He competes really well. He is going to play a big role in what we do this year. He works hard every day. He's a detailed guy. He has a lot of talent and he can run and catch the ball really well. He has a bright future for sure."