One of the most memorable wins for USC in 2011 was the 50-0 demolishing of crosstown rival UCLA in its season finale. With No. 17 UCLA currently ranked higher than No. 18 USC, however, the Trojans can’t afford to take them lightly this weekend.
“The record speaks for itself,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “As you watch them, they’re just doing a really good job managing situations … They haven’t had a lot of ups and downs, so you’ve got to give their staff a lot of credit. And they’re playing a lot of freshmen too.”
UCLA has rebounded from a 6-8 record last season to an 8-2 record this season. The Trojans are looking forward to playing the newly revitalized UCLA team at the Rose Bowl.
“Hopefully this isn’t my last time playing in the Rose Bowl,” senior quarterback Matt Barkley said. “This week is always big for this program, and it goes back a long way. … This game has a lot of meaning for both of these teams this year.”
It will be the first time visiting the Rose Bowl for junior running back Silas Redd, who was a noticeable scratch in USC’s game against Arizona State. The Penn State transfer is excited about the chance to play on the legendary field.
“This will be a great opportunity to play there at such a prestigious stadium,” Redd said. Redd did not practice today, but he expects to practice later this week and play against UCLA.
Coming off a sloppy win against Arizona State, the Trojans are determined to cut down their turnovers against UCLA. USC is tied for seventh worst in the country with an astounding 26 turnovers. This could be a huge disadvantage in Saturday’s game, as UCLA is tied for ninth in the nation with 25 takeaways.
“The emphasis of the entire practice was taking care of the football,” Kiffin said. “We were [protecting the ball] well for a while, and then we’ve kind of fallen back the past couple of weeks.”
Sophomore wide receiver and Heisman Trophy candidate Marqise Lee has to be eager to play against UCLA’s 103rd ranked pass defense.
“UCLA is way better than they were,” Lee said. “Coaches are great and players are great. I think it’s going to be a shootout; both teams will be going at it.”
Lee said that he feels a lot better after suffering an allergic reaction last weekend.
Additionally, Lee said that there’s “no way” that he will get to play defense against UCLA.