College Football Week 12: #21 USC At #17 UCLA
- CoachingLane Kiffin helped deflect some criticism related to “deflate-gate” by bringing up the possibility of star receiver Marqise Lee playing defense. More importantly, his team looked refocused after the Oregon loss, beating Arizona State 38-17.A win on Saturday and UCLA is in the Pac-12 championship—not bad for Jim Mora’s first season. The Bruins are on a four-game win streak.
- OffenseMatt Barkley’s 13 interceptions are the most he’s thrown since his freshman year. Saturday was his fifth game this season in which he threw multiple picks. The five total turnovers prevented it from being even more lopsided.The Bruins have scored at least 44 points in three straight games. This offense is rolling, moving the ball through the air and on the ground.
- DefenseEven without Lee seeing any actual action on defense—he stepped onto the field as a safety for a play but ASU called timeout before snapping the ball and Lee didn’t return—the defense had one of its best games of the season, limiting ASU to 250 yards.UCLA’s defense has been middle-of-the-pack, but the 25 turnovers forced rank in the top 10.
- Special TeamsUSC ranks in the top-15 in overall special teams play according to Football Outsiders, excelling in the return game.UCLA blocked a punt last week. That was helpful because the Bruins have done nothing in the return game.
The winner will represent the South in the Pac-12 title game. Despite the categorical sweep, except this game to be very close. -Andrew Kahn, College Football Contributor