Washington (2-2, 0-1) at #17 USC (3-1, 1-1)
When: Thursday, October 8th, 2015
Where: L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Los Angels, CA
Time: 9:00 ET
TV: ESPN Radio: XM 84
The USC Trojans got back on track last week with a very impressive 42-14 at Arizona State after losing a home game to Stanford the week before. USC’s offense has been clicking all year averaging 46.8 points a game, which ranks 5th best Nationally. Senior quarterback Cody Kessler has been fantastic all year completing 73 percent of his passes for 1,297 yards, 15 touchdowns and just one interception. Ronald Jones II and Senior Tre Madden are splitting the carries for USC. They have a combined 455 yards rushing through four games. The receivers are led by Juju Smith-Schuster, who has 27 catches for 537 yards and six touchdowns. Cameron Smith has a team-leading 30 tackles while junior outside linebacker Su’a Cravens has 27 tackles and an interception. Head coach Steve Sarkisian will be facing his former team for the first time tonight. Sarkisian spent five seasons as coach of the Huskies before departing after the 2013 season and the Huskies replaced him with Chris Petersen.
Petersen and the Huskies will be looking for their first signature win of the season after starting the year 2-2 with wins over inferior opponents and losses to California and Boise State. Washington has a brutal schedule coming up including tonight’s game. They play Oregon, Stanford, Arizona, Utah, and Arizona State the next 5 weeks. The Huskies have been pretty good on defense this year, leading the Pac-12 in scoring defense (15.8), total defense (321.0 yards per game) and rushing defense (104.5). Cornerback Kevin King has a team-high three interceptions and linebacker Azeem Victor has a team-best 38 tackles. The offense has been a problem for the Huskies so far. They’re ranked 100th in total offense with 356 yards a game and 119th in rushing with only 107 yards a game. Quarterback Jake Browning had great games in their two wins, but was terrible in the two loses. Overall he’s completing 64.4% of his passes for 996 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He is a freshman, so he can only get better, but he’ll have to learn in a hurry now that the Huskies are in Pac-12 play.
The defensive numbers may be a little misleading for Washington. The best offense they’ve faces is Cal and they let up 30 to them. I do like what USC’s defense has done this year outside of the Stanford game, and I know their offense is just fine. I really can’t see the Huskies keeping up with USC tonight. I’ll lay the wood.
Pick: USC -17