|USC Legends News|
No. 8 USC vs. UCLA
At stake for Bruins: If the Bruins win and Arizona defeats Arizona State, UCLA will play in the Rose Bowl. The Bruins also are fighting to save Coach Karl Dorrell's job.
What to expect from the Trojans: Plenty of pressure, no matter which UCLA quarterback is in the game, and a varied, quick-hitting offense that will take what the Bruins give, unlike a year ago.
What to expect from the Bruins: The same defensive effort they gave a year ago in defeating USC. That win gives UCLA some confidence, which could go a long way today.
Key matchup for Trojans: USC must be able to run the ball. Look for Chauncey Washington, Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson to take it to UCLA's front if it comes hard for QB John David Booty.
Key matchup for Bruins: UCLA's secondary vs. USC tight end Fred Davis. The Bruins have struggled in stopping tight ends, and Davis is among the best in the nation.
One area Trojans have an advantage: Since Booty's return they've shown a mature, even unpredictable, passing game with a number of playmaking receivers. Who knew?
One area Bruins have an advantage: Special teams have excelled under Dorrell, and kickoff returner Matt Slater is among the best in the nation. Punter Aaron Perez and kicker Kai Forbath have excelled as well.
Three keys for the Trojans:
Do not turn the ball over, take careless penalties or have a special-teams brain cramp.
Keep the tempo up. Play faster than UCLA can react.
Play with confidence. Fly around the field. Don't look back. End this one early.
Three keys for the Bruins:
Make a big play on special teams and do not allow USC to do the same.
Protect the quarterback as if his life depended on it.
Do not get behind early. A two-touchdown deficit may be too much to overcome. UCLA must stay close going into the fourth quarter.
Trojans FYI: Senior Day is always an emotional time. But with Mario Danelo's parents and Drean Rucker's dad walking out of the tunnel in place of their sons who didn't live to see this day, there won't be many dry eyes in the house.
Bruins FYI: The last time UCLA played at the Coliseum with the Rose Bowl on the line, USC won 66-19 in 2005. UCLA has not won since 1997. ... Dorrell said he may use Pat Cowan, Ben Olson and Osaar Rasshan at quarterback ... UCLA's rush defense has rebounded from a midseason funk and was dominant against Oregon last week.
Trojans' key injuries: OT Sam Baker (hamstring), probable; LB Keith Rivers (ankle), probable; DT Fili Moala (concussion), questionable.
Bruins' key injuries: FB Michael Pitre (knee), out; DE Nikola Dragovic (hip), out; WR Marcus Everett (ankle), out; LB John Hale (hamstring), doubtful; RB Craig Sheppard (groin), questionable.
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