USC vs. UCLA Game Preview: Matchups, Injuries, Lineups and Links



Rose Bowl | Los Angeles, Calif.5:00 PM Pacific | ABCAll-time Series: USC leads 44-30-7Last meeting: USC 14, UCLA 35 in 2013 at the Coliseum

Taped up the statues, tethered bears dragging along the floor, and endless arguments over who really runs LA.

It’s Troy Week.

It’s Game Day.

Tonight, the No. 19 USC Trojans aim for the revenge they failed to enact last year at the Coliseum against the No. 9 UCLA Bruins.

In the game which likely decided Ed Orgeron’s fate as head coach of the Trojans, USC fell 35-14 to their bitter rivals for the second year in a row.

This year, the stage is set at in an old and familiar stomping ground, the Rose Bowl.

The stakes are higher than ever. With a stop atop the Pac-12 South in play, both underachieving teams from Los Angeles have a chance to put their seasons back to right. A loss for either side ends it all.

Friday Night Video:


In our USC vs. UCLA preview podcast, host Michael Castillo is joined by Reign of Troy editor Alicia de Artola and staffer Josh Webb to look at the match up between the Trojans and Bruins, rivalry hi-jinks and the merits of danger dogs.

Gameday Links:

USC Injury Report:

  • Out for the season: Kenny Bigelow (knee), Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (academics), Jabari Ruffin (knee), Jordan Austin (hip), Chris Willson (foot), Christian Tober (collarbone), Tre Madden (toe), Lamar Dawson (knee), Chad Wheeler (knee)
  • Out: , Jordan Simmons (knee)
  • Questionable: Bryce Dixon (suspended)
  • Probable: Ajene Harris (hamstring), John Plattenburg (leg), J.R. Tavai (knee)
  • Will play: Su’a Cravens (knee), Soma Vainuku (hamstring), Leon McQuay III (shoulder), Josh Shaw

Bookmark our Injury Report and News Ticker to stay up to date on USC injury news.

UCLA Injury Report:

  • Out for the season: Randall Goforth (shoulder), John Johnson (shoulder), Steven Manfro (knee), Kenny Orjioke (knee), Austin Roberts (knee)
  • Questionable: Nate Iese (shoulder)


When UCLA has the ball…

The UCLA offensive attack begins with Brett Hundley, but it doesn’t end with the Bruins’ electric quarterback.

Running back Paul Perkins and wide out Jordan Payton lead the way on the ground and through the air, while additional weapons like Thomas Duarte, Eldridge Massington, Devin Fuller and Devin Lucien provide more than enough firepower for Hundley to utilize.

Hundley will be USC’s main focus, however, with the knowledge that a youthful and patchwork Bruin offensive line has proven vulnerable this season in protecting the quarterback. The return of J.R. Tavai and the emergence of Scott Felix in the pass rush with be key to USC’s defensive strategy as they provide support to Leonard Williams and the men up front tasked with disrupting Hundley’s flow.

Since giving up an enormous amount of yards on the ground to Boston College, the Trojan rush defense has stiffened, but they will have a major test on their hands with containing both Perkins and Hundley. Last year UCLA rushed for 188 yards and five rushing touchdowns against USC.

Projected Starting Lineups

UCLA Offense:WR #9 Jordan PaytonOT #68 Conor McDermottOG #51 Alex RedmondC #54 Jake BrendelOG #52 Scott QuessenberryOT #74 Caleb BenenochWR #18 Thomas DuarteQB #17 Brett HundleyWR #14 Mossi JohnsonTB #24 Paul PerkinsWR #82 Eldridge Massington

USC Defense:DT #90 Claude Pelon OR #52 Delvon SimmonsNT #99 Antwaun WoodsDE #94 Leonard WilliamsRE #47 Scott FelixSOLB #21 Su’a CravensMILB #10 Hayes PullardWILB #56 Anthony SaraoCB #13 Kevon SeymourFS #27 Gerald BowmanSS #22 Leon McQuay IIICB #2 Adoree’ Jackson

When USC has the ball…

The Trojans have more than enough weapons to terrorize a Bruin defense which has given up its fair share of points this season.

Though Buck Allen’s impact has been limited in recent weeks, the explosive Trojan back should be a major player for USC. Though Eddie Vanderdoes and Myles Jack are defenders to contend with, UCLA has conceded the third most rushing touchdowns in the Pac-12 in 2014 and are tenth in the conference in rush yards allowed per game.

Through the air, Cody Kessler has increased his standing nation-wide with big-time showings against not-so-big programs. UCLA’s more formidable pass defense is his chance to justify the praise, but he’ll have to watch out for Ishmael Adams and an opportunistic Bruin secondary. Though their nine interceptions this season seat them in the middle of the pack statistically, three of those have gone for touchdowns. Kessler’s first job is to protect the football.

His second job is to find his playmakers, and there are plenty of those. Adams will have his hands full with Nelson Agholor who will look to extend his streak of consecutive 100-yards games to five.

Projected Starting Lineups

USC Offense:WR #9 JuJu SmithWR #15 Nelson AgholorTE #82 Randall TelferRT #73 Zach BannerRG #60 Viane TalamaivaoC #75 Max TuerkLG #62 Khaliel RodgersLT #50 Toa LobendahnWR #1 Darreus RogersQB #6 Cody KesslerFB #38 Soma VainukuTB #37 Javorius Allen

UCLA Defense:RE #94 Owamagbe OdighizuwaNT #97 Kenny ClarkLE #47 Eddie VanderdoesOLB #8 Deon HollinsILB #30 Myles JackILB #6 Eric KendricksCB #10 Fabian MoreauS #21 Tahaan GoodmanS #23 Anthony JeffersonoCB #24 Ishmael Adams

Who will win tonight's game between USC and UCLA?

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