On Saturday night the USC Trojans traveled Down the street to the Rose Bowl to take on the other LA team known as the UCLA Bruins. This game will go down as one of, if not the best game between these two programs.
This was a prime example of what happens when you have two superstars at QB and what a shoot-out really looks like. This game may have put the Pac-12 on the map considering they have six teams in the top 25 compared to the SEC. The PAC has always been a little brother conference especially football on the West Coast, but this game demonstrates that college football in LA is in good hands.
Four Hundred and Seventy
Caleb Williams was already in the Heisman conversation along with other players such as Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, TCU’s Max Duggan, and Ohio States C.J. Stroud. This game from Williams might have just placed him near the top of that list. He threw for 470 yards passing with two touchdowns and ran for another 33 yards. Not to mention he had a 74% completion percentage and made multiple “Mahomes-like” throws.
It’s rare you see a quarterback that has almost the same amount of success running the ball as they do throwing it. Being 6’1 and 215 pounds with agility and a cannon for an arm, one would think that would make you a perfect NFL prospect. However, I’ll pump the brakes on that because we do still have one more year with Mr. Williams after this season.
You can see flashes from Williams that often have him compared to a QB that plays in Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes. The reason they draw the comparison is the ability Williams has when throwing on the run and the ability to make off-balance throws.
There’s still one more game to be played against Notre Dame but this game against the LA rival really forces the committee to take a good look at the QB who plays in cardinal and gold.
One Thousand and One Hundred Sixty-Two
In Saturday’s game, the Bruins and Trojans combined for 1,162 yards of total offense. Now hearing that you would think neither defense was able to create any turnovers. You’d be proven wrong because there were a total of five turnovers in this game, one coming from Caleb Williams, and four coming from the Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Both of these quarterbacks are top 10 in the nation for a reason. The score at the end of the game was 48-45, both the Trojans defense and Bruins defense weren’t able to get off the field on 3rd down and it was big play after a big play. If you’re a fan of offense this was 100% the game for you, defensive guys watch with caution.
This UCLA offense was sixth overall in total offense and number one in rush yards per attempt, thanks to senior running back Zach Charbonnet who will likely get drafted in the first round in the 2023 NFL draft.
Luckily, the Trojans got back their number one target in Jordan Addison who is able to rack up over 170 yards receiving and a touchdown. Not to mention Stanford transfer, Austin Jones, stepping in for the injured Travis Dye, who had 120 yards on 21 carries.
With Caleb Williams throwing the ball and the number of targets the Trojans have in the passing game, they’re the most dangerous offense in the country.
What really helped the Trojans win this game were the four turnovers caused by the defense. We could sit here and talk about the number of yards the defense allowed but stopping this UCLA offense four times to give the offense the opportunity to score was crucial.
Mekhi Blackmon and Shane Lee both grabbed an INT, while Senior Tyrone Taleni garnered a strip sack. Former five-star recruit and number one player in the country Korey Foreman, sealed the game with a game-winning interception after he dropped in the coverage and was able to cut off the route of the receiver and come down with maybe the most important play of his collegiate career.
The defense may allow a ton of yards but when you take the ball away, you give your team a chance to win. That was certainly the case on Saturday Night.