USC vs. UCLA 2017: The matchup by the numbers

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback Sam Darnold
PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback Sam Darnold /

USC vs. UCLA offers some primetime rivalry action between the Trojans and Bruins. Here are some key numbers ahead of the battle for the Victory Bell.

USC took care of business on the road last week in Boulder, Colorado. With a trip to the Pac-12 title game already sewn up, this week is all about the rivalry.

The Trojans will look to continue their strong run of form against the lowly Bruins, while also sending this class of seniors and talented Juniors out with a win in their final game in the Coliseum.

Here are some numbers to know ahead of Saturday’s matchup between USC and UCLA:

The Series

The USC vs. UCLA series started way back in 1929 with a 76-0 win by USC. In the 88 years since the Trojans lead the series going 48-31-7.

In fact, USC has been so dominant lately that UCLA has only been victorious four times in the last 18 meetings dating to 1999.

When USC and UCLA meet this Saturday the No. 11 Trojans will take on an unranked Bruins squad. USC is 27-12-5 against unranked UCLA teams, as well as being 15-6-2 when ranked while playing an unranked UCLA.

In 2016 USC defeated UCLA, 36-14, under the lights at the Rose Bowl. Ronald Jones II was a stud in that game, finishing with 18 carries for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Jones II also showed his trademark explosiveness with a 60-yard touchdown run.

The S&P+ Numbers

UCLA ranks 16th in offensive S&P+ just a few spots below USC who is ranked 14th. S&P+ takes five factors into their rankings, which are opponent adjusted: efficiency, explosiveness, field position, finishing drives and turnovers.

While UCLA is highly-ranked in overall S&P+, they are only 34th in offensive success rate. They also rank 45th in rushing and 30th in passing S&P+. The UCLA offense isn’t a juggernaut, however, with a talent such as Josh Rosen at quarterback, they should not be taken lightly.

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The USC defense has moved up to 57th in defensive S&P+ from 59th last week. The Trojans hold pat at 24th in overall defensive efficiency while slightly improving to 50th in rushing defense and slightly dropping in pass defense to 11th. USC will need to stay more disciplined in the secondary than they did against Colorado.

While many worry about dealing with a top talent like Josh Rosen throwing deep, take solace in these S&P+ numbers. The UCLA defense is ranked 122nd out of 130 in S&P+. The Bruin defense ranks 90th in defensive success rate while being ranked 98th against the run. Not to mention, they are also 65th against the pass, making them one of the worst defenses in college football.

UCLA’s rush defense has been absolutely atrocious in 2017. USC has an opportunity to assert themselves in the run game and help their defense out by controlling the line of scrimmage on offense.

Fast Facts

  • UCLA’s defense is giving up 302.3 rushing yards per game in 2017, worst in FBS.
  • USC remains undefeated when Ronald Jones II gets more than 15 carries. Jones II had 25 against Colorado.
  • UCLA head coach Jim Mora has won only five conference games in the last two seasons.
  • USC head coach Clay Helton has won seven conference games in 2017 and 14 over the last two seasons.
  • Thirteen USC seniors will be honored before the game on Saturday night: Jackson Boyer, Nico Falah, Josh Fatu, Chris Hawkins,  Christian Herrera, Corbin Jountti, Matt Lopes, Steven Mitchell Jr., Uchenna  Nwosu, Yoofi Quansah, Milo Stewart, Viane  Talamaivao and James Toland IV.