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Keys to game: Washington

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Washington head coach Ty Willingham comes to the Coliseum looking to knock off the Trojans. The last time SC lost at home it was against Willingham when he coached at Stanford. Willingham has already beat a confident UCLA team and a pretty good Fresno state team. He will have this team disciplined and ready to play.

When USC has the ball:

1- Throw deep and throw often. UW is ranked 10th in the Pac 10 in pass defense. If Jarrett is back in the lineup that will make Booty's job that much easier, Jarrett makes defenses second guess themselves. If they have to double-team him it opens up opportunities for the other SC receivers and we have already seen what Steve Smith can do when he is called upon to make critical catches. Fred Davis also needs to get back up to the level he was at early in the season. He has had a number of dropped passes and has been taken down easier than I would have expected on some open field plays, especially against WSU. He needs to use his size and speed a little more to his advantage in order to turn routine plays into some big yardage plays. Of course if that's not enough to get them motivated they can always look on the locker room wall for the quote that UW Safety Dashon Goldson made earlier in the week.

2- Get the ball to Moody. Moody has shown that he is one of the most talented of the new RB's on this young team. He has shown that he can break the big run as well as pound the ball for short yardage. Some compare him to Reggie Bush but I think that's a bit unfair. He may have Bush-like speed but he has not yet had that game changing spectacular run that completely takes an opposing defense out of a game. That will come in time but for now he needs to concentrate on hitting the open holes and making the most out his playing time. Before you know it he turn into a very special player.

3- Stand and deliver. The front line has done a pretty good job of protecting Booty and has given him the time he needs to make plays. They had a bit of a drop off against WSU allowing Booty to be sacked 3 times. If the can keep the pressure off Booty will have a productive day against a week UW secondary.

When Washington has the ball:

1- Stop Stanback! Isaiah Stanback comes in with a bit of chip on his shoulder. SC didn't heavily recruit him, and he has made it appear that he felt that he was snubbed when SC lost interest in him. He has a lot to prove and he will be looking to make a statement tomorrow. Coach Willingham has a lot faith in his QB so he will be playing with a purpose. The defense needs to do a better job at getting pressure on the QB and make some sacks.

2- Break the line. Last week the defense had a tough time getting penetration on a rag-tag WSU O line. This week they go up against an offensive line that has taken every snap in every game this season. They have chemistry and having played together for as long as they have this season will only build their confidence. SC needs to overpower them fast and get to Stanback. Mike Tyson once said "everyone has a plan until they get hit". If we penetrate their line and get to Stanback it will do wonders for the SC defense's confidence. Lawrence Jackson needs to have a statement game and get a couple of sacks.

3- Chop some Wood. UW kick returner, Marlon Wood hates USC even though his dad was on USC's NC team in 1971. He was injured in the game against SC last year when Josh Pinkard horse collared hind during a long runback and he has not forgotten it so he wants to exact a little revenge. Shut him down and it will be a little more difficult for the Huskies to move the ball on long drives.


SC needs to put the last two lackluster wins behind them and come out of the gates firing. Costly penalties need to be kept to a minimum. They also need to get back in the plus column in regards to turnovers. Creating and converting turnovers has always been one of the defenses specialties and after not getting any critical turnovers last week, outside of the "Hail Mary" INT by Brink, SC needs to get back to its old ways and take the ball away.

The Line for this game is at -20.5. I think that is little too high with the way SC has played in its last 2 games. UW is a much better team than was originally expected but they are certainly beatable. I think SC wins, but once again they do not cover the spread.