The USC Trojans face off against the UCLA Bruins in the battle of Los Angeles. USC is coming off a dominating win over the California Bears. Against CAL, freshman Kedon Slovis passed for 406 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Michael Pittman Jr. had a great game catching 11 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown.
UCLA is coming off a blow out lost to Utah 49-3. Bruins running back Joshua Kelley rushed for 78 yards on 19 carries. Kelley is having an excellent season rushing for 939 yards on 4.8 yards per carry. Also, Kelly has 10 touchdowns and is crucial to what UCLA likes to do on offense.
It will be critical for the Trojans defense to contain Kelley from having a big day to avoid the upset loss. USC’s defense gives up an average of 167.5 yards per game on the ground. Against UCLA, that number must improve. Over the past couple of weeks, USC has done a better job stopping the run. Slowing down, Kelley will take a team effort.
It will start up front with the USC defensive line. Christian Rector, Jay Tufele, Marlon Tuipulotu, and Drake Jackson must get off the ball fast. Getting off the ball quickly will lead to a good push upfront to create a new line of scrimmage. Doing that will make the opposing running back have to adjust the gap he wants to run to.
The defensive line and linebackers like John Houston Jr./strong>. and Palaie Gaoteote IV will have to play the proper run fits. Run fits are when defensive line and linebackers play in a particular gap. When performed correctly, it creates a wall at the line of scrimmage and forces the running back to bounce outside.
Also, the Trojans can bring up strong safety Talanoa Hufanga to create an eight-man front to help stop the run. One more thing is all eleven players will need to rally to the football to get Kelley down.
Watch Out For The RPOs
UCLA does run a lot RPO, run-pass option. So the USC defense will have to be ready for that, the defensive ends will need to keep contain on the outside, and the defensive tackles must get push up the middle because the linebackers will have hold a bit due to the threat of the pass.
Slowing down, Kelley will not be an easy task. USC defensive front must play physical, and it is vital to discipline when stopping the run. An undisciplined defense will lead to a lot of rushing yards for Kelley. It will be interesting to see what the USC defense does against the run.