The Trojans are ready to get back at it following their only bye week of the season. This week, a familiar opponent will roll into the Coliseum for an unusual weeknight game. The Trojans will look to avoid their second straight home defeat of the season when they take on Steve Sarkisian's former team, the Washington Huskies.
After watching UCLA and Arizona suffer defeats, the Trojans find themselves in the midst of another PAC-12 south race. The Trojans are coming off an impressive win, a 42-14 victory, over the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe, AZ. The Trojans, who currently hold a two game win streak over Washington, will face off against the Huskies for the first time since 2013.
The Huskies (2-2, 0-1) are also coming off a bye, a usual trend for teams playing Thursday night games. Their last game ended in a defeat to the California Golden Bears, 30-24. Freshman Quarterback Jake Browning has struggled mightily for the Huskies, failing to throw a touchdown in two games against quality opponents - Boise State and Cal. Although the offense has struggled, the Husky defense has kept the team in games.
In their two losses, the Huskies fell by a combined 9 points despite being out gained 818 to 438 yards. The defense's ability to turn the ball over in key moments has allowed for the Huskies to remain competitive despite being outplayed.
On the offensive side of the ball, freshman Myles Gaskin and junior Dwyane Washington have formed a two-headed running attack combining for 347 yards and six touchdowns through four games. With Browning struggling at quarterback expect the Huskies to try and establish their running game early in the game.
The Trojans enter the game coming off an impressive 42-14 victory over Arizona State. After questions surrounded Justin Wilcox's defense, the Trojans came up with 4 key turnovers, including a 95 yard fumble recovery TD, in the game against the Sun Devils. Washington's offense pales in comparison to that of USC's previous two opponents - Stanford and Arizona State.
Antwaun Woods, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Kevon Seymour all returned to practice on Saturday, a good sign for the Trojans as they enter a tough stretch. Kessler has looked fantastic through four games, throwing for 1297 yards, 15 touchdowns and just one interception while completing a career best 73 percent of his passes. Kessler should have no problem adding to his totals on Thursday against a subpar Washington secondary that gave up 342 yards passing to Cal last week. Look for Smith-Schuster to have another solid game after reaching 100 yards receiving in his previous three games.
USC's run defense will have to step against the Huskies. The Trojans were destroyed by Stanford two weeks ago and looked exposed against the Sun Devils last Saturday. With the Husky passing game struggling to find its foot, the Trojans will look to fill the box and force the Huskies to beat them with the pass. If the Trojans can limit the run and get pressure on true freshman Jake Brown, the Trojans should come up on top with ease. Who knows, maybe we'll get some more Adoree' on offense as well.
While this game is one of the easier on the schedule for the Trojans, don't count out the Huskies. Head coach Chris Peterson is no stranger to playing the role of underdog, beating numerous top ranked teams during his time at Boise State. The Trojans also have a huge game coming up against Notre Dame the following week. Let's hope they don't look past this Thursday.
Kickoff is set for this Thursday at 6 P.T. on ESPN.