Saturday, December 12, 2020, Spieker Field at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California, 7:30 p.m. ET
Trojans at Bruins Betting Preview: Trojans (-3.5), Bruins (+3.5)
USC will try to secure a spot in the Pac-12 Conference championship game when the No. 15 Trojans (4-0, 4-0 Pac-12) take on UCLA.
A win will give the Trojans a 5-0 record for the first time since 2006, when they started 6-0.
USC put itself in position to play for the conference championship in Santa Clara, Calif., by beating visiting Washington State 38-13 last Sunday night.
The game was pushed back two days following a small COVID-19 outbreak on the USC team, a situation that initially forced the Trojans to cancel their game against No. 21 Colorado on Nov. 28.
The schedule adjustment shrank USC’s window to prepare for UCLA, and it hasn’t dimmed the excitement surrounding the crosstown rivalry.
“We’ve got a short week coming up against a really good team that’s hot right now,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “We’ve got a lot to play for, and that’s what you want in December.”
Kedon Slovis was sharp against Washington State, completing 25 of 32 passes for 287 yards and five touchdowns.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, held out of the end zone over the first three games, caught seven passes for 65 yards and four touchdowns against the Cougars, which tied a school and Pac-12 single-game record.
The Bruins (3-2, 3-2 Pac-12) are coming off a 25-18 win at Arizona State last week, their first win in the month of December since the 2013 Sun Bowl. The victory lifted UCLA’s record above .500 for the first time since a win on Oct. 21, 2017, had them at 4-3.
UCLA has been particularly strong on defense, holding three of its past four opponents to two touchdowns or fewer.
“I’ve been really proud of how our defense has played all season long,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “We have a bunch of kids over there that play football extremely hard.
“They do a really good job of rallying to the ball and gang tackling, and we talked about playing hard and playing hard for 60 minutes. You can’t play hard for 58. You have to play hard for 60.”
UCLA benefited last weekend with the return of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who was among nine Bruins to miss two games because of COVID-19 concerns.
Thompson-Robinson completed 18 of 24 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown against Arizona State. He also rushed for 49 yards and a score.
“We’re taking it day by day and working very hard,” Thompson-Robinson said. “I’m very proud of this team and where we’re headed.”
Trojans at Bruins Betting Pick for December 12, 2020
The Trojans are 16-5 over the last 21 meetings with the Bruins and lead the series 48-32-7, though they are only 7-11 in games played at the Rose Bowl. Last year Slovis passed for a school single-game record 515 yards and four Trojans had 100-yard receiving games as the Trojans dominated in a 52-35 win. Thompson-Robinson passed for 367 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown for the Bruins.
Trojans at Bruins Betting Pick:
Trojans 28, Bruins 24
Trojans at Bruins Best Bet for December 12, 2020
The Trojans have scored at least 33 points in each of their last four games and just missed the 30-point mark with a 28-27 win over Arizona State to open the season. The Bruins are coming off a season low with their 25-18 win over Arizona State last week and have scored only 52 points their last two outings.
Trojans at Bruins Best Bet: UNDER 62