Bruins Battle Trojans at the Coliseum on Saturday
November 21, 2019
It can be a flag football game between the Daily Bruin and Daily Trojan student newspapers or a chess match between two students from UCLA and USC the passion level will intensify. When the two schools lock horns to play a football game the whole city of Los Angeles is divided. On Saturday the annual football game will be played at the Coliseum at 12:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on Channel 7.
Although the game is not the big, big game because of the team's records, it still is the little big game. USC is 7-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play and UCLA is 4-6 and 4-3. Both teams have something to play for besides the bragging rights for a year. The USC players are trying to save coach Clay Helton's job and UCLA is hoping to become bowl eligible. The Bruins need two more wins, against USC and California next week to be bowl eligible.
Last year, USC could not stop UCLA running back Joshua Kelly who ran for 289 yards in UCLA's 34-27 win. Kelly is back for his senior year so USC will need to find a way to stop Kelly and UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. If UCLA's offensive line gives Thompson-Robinson time he can hurt the Trojans with his arm and feet.
Thompson-Robinson also has problems with turnovers. In their 49-3 loss to Utah last week the Bruins committed five turnovers and the UCLA quarterback was responsible to four of them. Penalties and turnovers is a recipe for defeat so if the Bruins expect to beat the Trojans they will need to cut down on their mistakes and hold on to the ball.
The Trojans will come into the game with the Pac-12 offensive freshman of the year candidate, quarterback Kedon Slovis. Slovis, a true freshman has thrown for 2,727 yards and 24 touchdowns with nine interceptions in 10 games. He also has some of the best receivers in college football to throw the ball to.
Wide receivers Michael Pittman Jr., Tyler Vaughns, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Drake London and tight end Josh Falo will present a multitude of problems for the UCLA defense. The Trojans also have three very good running backs in Vavae Malepeai, Stephen Carr and Kenan Christon. Christon, who is s true freshman, was the fastest high school sprinter in California last year.
The Trojans may have the edge on defense and special teams. The defense is led by linemen Christian Rector and Drake Jackson, linebacker John Houston Jr. and defensive back Isaiah Pola-Mao. On special teams they have kick returner Velus Jones Jr.
The Bruins defense is led by line men Otito Ogbonnia and Osa Odighizuwa, linebacker Krys Barnes and defensive back Darnay Holmes. The Bruins have a good kickoff returner in Demetric Felton.
If the Trojans win their next two games against UCLA and their bowl game that might be enough to save Helton's job. They will be 9-4 and with the number of injuries they have had to overcome this season their new athletic director may see the light at the end of Helton's tunnel.
For UCLA, if the Bruins don't win their next two games talk that they made the wrong decision in hiring Chip Kelly two years ago to a four-year contract will continue.