UCLA hopes stable O-line can lead to upset over No. 12 USC

From FOX Sports - November 14, 2017

LOS ANGELES (AP)Familiarity is leading to success for UCLAs offensive line.

The same five players up front have started every game this season, and their development helped the Bruins rush for a season-high 192 yards without allowing a sack in last Saturdays 44-37 win over Arizona State.

I thought they had their best game, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said Tuesday. And we need to play even better this Saturday.

The play of the offensive line will almost certainly determine whether UCLA can upset No. 12 Southern California with the Victory Bell at stake.

The Trojans lead the Pac-12 in sacks with 36, which ranks second nationally among FBS teams. Plus, a UCLA defense allowing 38.6 points and 302.3 yards rushing per game might not provide much resistance against quarterback Sam Darnold, running back Ronald Jones II and a USC offense that has found its stride.

Instead, UCLA will likely need to run the ball well enough to limit USCs possessions and keep a clean pocket for quarterback Josh Rosen to score plenty of points. UCLA is allowing 49 points per game on the road and has allowed at least 44 points in each of its five games away from the Rose Bowl.

The lines solid play hasnt escaped coach Jim Mora. He saluted their performance against the Sun Devils with the teams weekly Force 5 award, named after Hall of Fame safety Kenny Easley. It honors the playeror in this case playerswho had the biggest impact on the game.

Its nice once in a while to get recognition, right guard Michael Alves said.

Alves, a redshirt freshman from San Diego, and his fellow linemen delivered against an aggressive and complex Arizona State defense. UCLA had just three runs that lost yardage, not counting three kneel-downs at the end of the game, while not yielding a sack for the first time in 11 games dating back to last season.


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