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Scouting The Washington State Cougars

USC can not afford to lay an egg like they shamefully did last season.

The Trojans' 'will need a big game from Cody Kessler
The Trojans' 'will need a big game from Cody Kessler
Stephen Dunn

Last season the USC Trojans laid an egg in the worst of ways, dropping a 10-7 decision to the Washington State Cougars. This time around, new head coach Steve Sarkisian wants to focus on finishing football games by putting away an undermanned and less talented WSU football team, who were walloped by Arizona last week.

The Trojans were solid for most of last season's matchup, but a pick-six by Damante Horton near the end of the first half gave the Cougars life. That horrendous game on offense, resulting in just 54 total yards of passing between quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, certainly lacked the offensive firepower to appease an up-in-arms fan base calling for then head coach Lane Kiffin's head.

USC (5-3, 4-2) will be making its first trip to Martin Stadium since 2010, when they put together an impressive 50-16 victory led by a 107-yard receiving night from fullback Stanley Havili. The Trojans will take a 2-2 record away from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for a daunting trap game against a pass-heavy Washington State Cougars squad, which currently own the seventh-best offense in all of college football.

The Cougars return two starters from last year's offensive line in left tackle Joe Dahl and left guard Gunnar Eklund who combined for just 33 starts before the beginning of this season, the fewest by any Pac-12 offensive line. If USC wants to slow down the record-setting passing attack from Connor Halliday, it must put pressure on the experienced gunslinger.

Cody Kessler, who threw just his second INT last week, meanwhile has yet to lose back-to-back games in his career. The Trojans have won eight of their last nine meetings with Washington State, who must win this game to keep their slim bowl-game chances alive.

Media Guide Game Notes

  • USC has a 246-128-20 (.650) record while playing in the month of November.
  • USC has an 11-3 all-time record in games on Nov. 1, including last season's 31-14 victory on the road against the Oregon State Beavers.
  • The Trojans are 36-19-1 in its last 55 games on artificial turf.
  • USC suited up a season-low 48 scholarship players last week vs. Utah.
  • WSU men's basketball assistant coach Silvey Dominguez was an assistant at USC from 1997 to 2001.
  • USC has been outscored in both the 2nd (65-62) and 4th quarters (57-52).