Nov. 10, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin (23) runs against the Washington State Cougars during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-US PRESSWIRE

USC Football: UCLA Upsets The Trojans If...

…the Trojans don’t play tough against the run. It will be imperative that the Trojans to stop the Bruins’ running attack. The run game, led by senior Johnathan Franklin, is the catalyst for this Bruins offense. Franklin is averaging 127 yards per game and 6.4 yards per carry on the season. He is a tough runner who runs with great vision and balance. His running style challenges defenses to play with gap integrity, play cut-back responsibility, and wrap up on the tackle

If the Trojans can’t contain the running game, this will force Monte Kiffin to put extra defenders in the box to stop the bleeding. That is when the Bruins’ offense gets really dangerous. True to what spread option offenses want to accomplish by establishing the run, the passing game opens up. Freshman quarterback Brett Hundley has done an outstanding job of being the triggerman in this offense.

While the Bruins may not have the stable of wide receivers that USC has, Hundley leads a passing attack that is averaging just 17.7 passing yards per game fewer than USC. Hundley is completing 69% of his passes and has thrown 24 touchdowns against just 9 interceptions.

Hundley runs this offense efficiently and spreads the ball around to various receivers, including Franklin out of the backfield. The Bruins have six receivers with at least 200 yards, but Hundley’s favorite targets are Shaquelle Evans (39 for 571) and Joseph Fauria (31 for 417). Fauria at 6 ft. 7 in. is a key match-up to watch and could create problems down the seam in the passing game.

The Trojans have struggled against the spread this year, only having success against Arizona State last week. Their success of last week, probably their best performance of the year, will be something that they will need to duplicate to stop this Bruins’ attack.

Tune into your local Fox affiliate at 12 p.m. PT to watch the Trojans take on cross-town rival UCLA with a trip to the conference title game on the line. You can also follow us on twitter for in game commentary @ReignOfTroy.

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Tags: Brett Hundley Football Johnathan Franklin Monte Kiffin UCLA Bruins USC Trojans

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