Keys to the Game
The Trojans (1-3) have a tough fight on their hands this week as they take on undefeated Arizona State (4-0). USC is looking to bounce back after a solid but disappointing performance against Utah. As gut-wrenching as last week’s loss was, the Trojans can pull a ton of positives out of last week and should look forward to building on them this week.
Take Care of the Football
The Trojans fumbled the ball three times against Utah last week. Squandering key possessions away kills the team’s momentum and keeps points off the scoreboard. The positive in this situation is that the offense looked really good with Darnold at the helm, and hypothetically thinking, if the Trojans score on one of those drives, they would have won the game. Arizona State will look to create turnovers by stripping at the ball so ball security should be an emphasis in this game for the Trojans. USC’s offense has hurt themselves more than being hurt by an opposing defense lately. If they can manage to win the turnover battle, their chances to win increases a ton.
Win in the Trenches
The offensive line for the Trojans has performed well this season for the most part. They will need to continue their good play by creating run lanes for the running backs and protecting their quarterback. The defensive line for the Trojans is where the concern lies. The pass rush has been lacking this season which puts stress on the secondary. If the defensive line can answer the bell this week, USC will be able to dictate this game on the way to victory.
Sam Darnold Making Plays
Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold performed well last week in his first start of the season. He was in control of the offense, made all of the right decisions, and took care of the football. Darnold failed to throw a touchdown pass but he did get the ball to his playmakers. This week we will need to see Darnold find the end zone and stress the defense more with his legs. I would like to see more deep shots taken instead of all the short and medium passes. Coach Helton promoted Darnold to the starting quarterback to “spark” the team. It’s time for Darnold to light that match and be the “spark” Coach Helton’s hoping for. If Darnold has a big game this weekend, the Trojans will win convincingly.
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