College Football News Preview 2020: USC Trojans Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The USC Trojans Offense
Pass protection, pass protection, pass protection. The USC offensive front was fine overall. It gave up a reasonable 2.2 sacks and 6.2 tackles for loss per game, but in a pass-happy offense that put the ball in the air 514 times, the quarterbacks took a whole lot of pops.
JT Daniels went down for the season – and, apparently, his USC career – in the opener with a knee injury. Kedon Slovis stepped in and was phenomenal, but he got bounced around and missed the Utah and Washington games. Matt Fink took over and had his moments, but the Utes and Huskies combined for nine big plays behind the line.
Considering the Trojans are welcoming in two new starting offensive tackles, and with the season kickoff – at last as it stands right now – against that upstart Alabama team with just a wee bit of talent on the defensive side, keeping the quarterbacks clean will mean everything.
Biggest Key To The USC Trojans Defense
The D has to make up for the turnovers the O will give away. USC will crank out another great offense that should be even better than the 2019 version, but there will be mistakes.
There interceptions will be there considering all the passing, and the offense has to be far better at hanging on to the ball after losing 11 fumbles. The defense, though, has to do its part.
There are way too many good, experienced parts to not make more big plays. The 16 takeaways weren’t awful, but USC was 0-4 – including the gack to BYU, and the bowl loss to Iowa – when the team was -2 or worse in turnover margin. In those four games, the defense came up with a grand total of two takeaways.
Overall, it was a plus compared to the mere ten takeaways in 2018, but USC went to the Rose Bowl and won the Pac-12 title when it came up with 25 in 2017.
Key USC Trojans Player To A Successful Season
OT/OG Alijah Vera-Tucker, Jr.
Where will the 6-4, 315-pound work? Either he’ll be an all-star caliber guard and one of the key parts to make the running game go, or he’ll take over for Austin Jackson at left tackle and be in charge of keeping Kedon Slovis upright. Including Jackson, Vera-Tucker was the team’s best lineman, and he’ll be fine no matter where he ends up.
Key Game To The USC Trojans Season
at Utah, Oct. 2
The Pac-12 South still isn’t anything special. Consider it a shock if Arizona, Colorado or UCLA are anywhere near the hunt for the division title, and Arizona State isn’t at the level Utah and USC should be at.
It didn’t matter too much last year. USC got Utah early on – Utah has never beaten USC in California – but the Utes have won three straight in the series in Salt Lake City. The winner isn’t a lock to go to the Pac-12 title game, but the loser will be in big, big trouble.
– USC Trojans Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 USC Fun Stats
– Penalties: Opponents 102 for 845 yards – USC 90 for 877 yards
– Average Yards Per Pass Attempt: USC 8.49 – Opponents 6.96
– Fumbles: USC 22 (lost 11) – Opponents 14 (lost 7)