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The Scouting Report

November 22, 2003

UCLA (6-5, 4-3) at No. 2 USC (9-1, 5-1)

TODAY, 12:30 P.M., COLISEUM

TV -- Channel 7

Radio -- KMPC (1540), XTRA (690/1150)

WHEN USC HAS THE BALL

The Trojans have no reason to stray from the formula that put them in position for a possible run at the Sugar Bowl. Running backs LenDale White, Hershel Dennis and Reggie Bush will try to establish the Trojans' conference-best rushing attack and set up quarterback Matt Leinart for another stellar passing performance. Junior Lee Webb and redshirt sophomore David Kirtman will play fullback in place of injured Brandon Hancock. Wide receiver Mike Williams and flanker Keary Colbert will operate against a Bruin defense that ranks first in the Pacific 10 Conference against the pass. UCLA will try to play USC's dynamic duo straight up, rather than isolating cornerback Matt Ware on one or the other. Ends Dave and Mat Ball and defensive tackle Rodney Leisle intend to push past a Trojan front that has given up a conference-low 12 sacks. Linebackers Brandon Chillar and Spencer Havner like to blitz, occasionally on the same play.

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WHEN UCLA HAS THE BALL

Drew Olson will start at quarterback for the Bruins, who rank eighth in the conference in passing offense and last in rushing. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Ebell and freshman Maurice Drew will be tested while running the ball and while blocking in the backfield, against one of the nation's most aggressive defensive fronts. Center Robert Chai is nursing a sprained knee, so Paul Mociler could play a lot on a line that must allow Olson or Matt Moore time to complete high-percentage passes.

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KEYS TO USC VICTORY

Protect Leinart: The Trojan offense starts with the redshirt sophomore who ranks fifth in the nation in passing efficiency and has not thrown an interception in his last 165 attempts, a school record.

Establish the run: The Trojans have rushed for at least 195 yards in each of their last six games, all victories.

Stay focused: The Trojans cannot look past the struggling Bruins -- or for the Ohio State-Michigan result that probably will be flashed on the video board shortly after kickoff.

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KEYS TO UCLA VICTORY

Rattle Leinart early: Whether it's a big hit in the first quarter or an interception returned for a touchdown, the Bruins must find a way to shake the USC quarterback's confidence, to knock him out of his rhythm.

Stay close: The Bruins have enough trouble mounting any kind of offense when they are tied or ahead in a game, but they have been extremely ineffective when trying to come from behind.

Avoid special-teams meltdowns: There's enough pressure on the UCLA defense to compensate for the Bruin offense by shutting down its opponents. Giving up points on punts and kickoffs simply compounds UCLA's problems.

HOW THEY COMPARE

*--* USC UCLA 40.7 Scoring 19.7 17.5 Points allowed 21.9 285.9 Passing offense 205.5 172.6 Rushing offense 101.5 457.6 Total offense 306.9 255.2 Passing defense 195.9 66.4 Rushing defense 112.8 321.6 Total defense 308.7

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