USC vs. Washington State Fearless Prediction & Game Preview
Check out the USC vs. Washington State fearless prediction and game preview.
USC (4-0) vs. Washington State (4-0) Game Preview
Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Friday, September 29th
Game Time: 10:30 pm ET
Venue: Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA
There was a time in the early 2000s when this game turned into a major deal for the Pac-10 title – with the Cougars screwing up USC with a 30-27 win in 2002. But it was all Trojans for a long, long time.
USC won nine of the next ten meetings, with the only misfire a 10-7 Wazzu win early in 2013. But now, this should matter again in a huge way for the first time in a long time.
Washington State’s offense is off to a hot 4-0 start with the offense blowing up, but Boise State is the only team it’s played with a slight pulse – and it took overtime to get past the Mountain Wester.
This is a talented Cougar team with the talent on both sides of the ball to not just get through the Pac-12 North, but actually win the conference title if the production continues. But it’s time for a good win to make America believe.
The rankings seem to like Wazzu, putting it 16th in both polls, but beating the fifth-ranked Trojans will take the Mike Leach era to a different level. With road games at Oregon and Cal up next, the Cougars might need this.
USC is used to being in the spotlight each and every week, with wins over Stanford, Texas and Cal making this a strong start to the year, but this is a banged up team that hasn’t quite put together the same game twice.
Against a charged up Cougar team, the Trojans might have to be ready for a firefight.
One Reason Why Washington State Will Win
The Washington State passing game is working at a whole other level – even for this program.
Again, the schedule hasn’t been all that great, but it doesn’t matter. Connecting on 76% of passes against air would be impressive. With 1,730 yards and 17 touchdown passes with just three picks, the machine is humming.
The USC secondary wasn’t pushed too hard early on, and it caught a break playing a freshman – Sam Ehlinger – in the Texas battle, and while it came up with our picks against Cal, it also got hit for 303 yards.
Wazzu would love nothing more than to start bombing away and making this about whose offense plays better. Sam Darnold might be the best quarterback in this game, but he’ll throw interceptions if this gets into a shootout. The Cougar secondary can make plays, with five picks so far.
One Reason Why USC Will Win
Yeah, Washington State, the schedule matters so far.
It’s been target practice so far, with Boise State the only team beaten with a win over another FBS team.
The Cougar offensive line is good, but it’s been uncharacteristically mediocre in pass protection, giving up 17 sacks even with the quarterbacks getting the ball out of their hands in a hurry.
The USC pass rush has been terrific, with eight sacks in the last two games. Porter Gustin might not be back on the outside, but Christian Rector and the rest of the defensive front should be able to get to Luke Falk just enough to apply a little pressure.
What’s Going To Happen
Washington State will come out roaring.
Falk will be on fire and everything will click, and then Darnold will start chipping away.
The injuries to the Trojans on both sides of the ball will grow into a problem. RB Ronald Jones will supposedly give it a go, and top WR Deontay Burnett is expected to play, but the offense won’t be 100%.
Even so, little bit little, USC will edge back in the game, and then take over halfway through the fourth quarter on a big drive from Darnold in the clutch. Falk will have one last shot, but the final drive will come up short.
And fans in the Eastern Time Zone will go to bed very, very late.
USC vs. Washington State Prediction
USC 38, Washington State 34
USC -3.5, o/u: 65
5: “U bum” – 1: “Dotard” … 3
Must See Rating
5: American Made – 1: My Little Pony: The Movie … 4