The longstanding rivalry between USC and UCLA is one of the greatest in college football. With players such as O.J Simpson, Reggie Bush and Maurice Jones Drew all taking part, this in-state rivalry has produced plenty of legends. Add in the spark of some social media drama, and you have the makings of for a thriller.
The battle for supremacy in Los Angeles has heated up due to some off-field issues. First, someone made a fake Twitter account for UCLA freshman cornerback Randall Goforth, talking trash to USC. Trojan receiver Marquise Lee, a high school friend of Goforth, started talking trash back, but Goforth told him via text that the account did not belong to him. This prompted Bruins’ coach Jim Mora to tell the media that whoever made the Twitter should be in jail.
Make no mistake about it, these two teams are going to be fired up as a trip to the Pac-12 championship is on the line.
Matt Barkley, the preseason Heisman favorite has thrown for 2,972 yards and 33 touchdowns, and is still the front-runner to be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. With weapons such as Marquise Lee), both of whom have combined for 2,100 yards receiving and 23 touchdown grabs, the Trojans can score with anybody.
However, the Trojans’ defense has been inconsistent, and this because of a lack of discipline. In USC’s loss to Arizona, Lee had 345 yards receiving, a Pac 12 record. However, the Trojans were undone by self-inflicted wounds, as they committed 13 penalties, five turnovers and blew a 15-point second half lead. The defense must step their game up against a complete offense such as the Bruins’.
Johnathan Franklin, the senior running back for the Bruins, was an early season Heisman Trophy candidate after a fast start in September. While his numbers have fallen off a little, he is still having a monstrous year with 1,270 yard and eight touchdowns to his credit. His production has allowed Brett Hundley’s transition to a Division-I quarterback go smoothly.
Hundley has thrown for 2,739 yards and 24 touchdowns while only throwing nine interceptions on the season, so the Bruins also have weapons in the air.
With these two teams, the chances of an emotional game are likely. The Trojans must contain their emotions and not get baited into penalties. In the end, the duo of Barkley and Lee will prove to be too explosive, and look for the Trojans to pull-away late in a very close game to continue their dominance in the rivalry.