Five points: Why USC will beat UCLA
NOV 29, 2013 7:32a ET
The stud defensive lineman has continued to give his team an emotional boost over the past couple of weeks. He's gutting it out on an injured shoulder that in all likelihood will need surgery after the season. Williams is going to be key in USC controlling the line of scrimmage --both in the run game and also in their efforts to keep UCLA Brett Hundley in the pocket.
2. Buck Allen
There may not be another player on the roster who has benefited from Ed Orgeron being named the interim head coach than Allen. While Trojan fans may be still pinching themselves because of his accomplishments, Allen isn't, stating he's always known what he's been capable of. He's had three rushing touchdowns in three of the last four games. Although the running game will get help in the return of Silas Redd and Tre Madden, don't be surprised if it's Allen getting the bulk of the carries vs UCLA.
3. Special teams
Andre Heidari's game-winning field goal against Stanford sent the Coliseum crowd into a frenzy two weeks ago. Orgeron has been very complimentary of the USC special teams recently. Heidari's field goal is just one example of the special teams impact in recent weeks. At Cal, it was Nelson Agholor's two punt return touchdowns. Against Stanford, the Trojans also had a blocked field goal. All season long Kris Albarado has been among the top punters in the country, which could lead to necessary flips in field position against the Bruins on Saturday. He has 26 punts inside the 20 this season.
4. Offensive line
Two words: Anthony Barr. That's enough to motivate this unit to perform well on Saturday. In the last meeting, it was the shot heard 'round the world -- Barr blindsiding Matt Barkley and ending his collegiate career on the wet turf of the Rose Bowl. The offensive line has been one of the most improved units under Orgeron and should be able to continue their effective play from recent weeks.
5. Marqise Lee
No decision has been made, Lee says, but Saturday could mark the final game in the Coliseum for the 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner. He's well off his history making pace from a season ago but there's no denying on Saturday he will be the best playmaker on the field. When Stanford came to town, Lee showed flashes of his old self. It was a big game for the Trojans -- Saturday is too.
Ed Orgeron. The players won't admit they're playing for Orgeron's job but they will admit they'll run through a wall for him. The wall this week is UCLA. It's been the most improbable turnaround in the country and Orgeron is the man responsible be USC doing a 180 on their season. Players have admitted they want Orgeron to be their coach and they know they increase those chances by winning.
USC 24, UCLA 17
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