USC looks to bounce back following their disappointing loss to Utah last Friday when they host Arizona State on Saturday. Here are our staff predictions:
Julian Lopez: USC- 42 ASU- 41
USC can't fall to 1-4, can they? I am a firm believer in USC being able to score points on the Sun Devils defense but can they stop their offense? This could be a “whoever has the ball last wins” game.
Nick Dempsey: USC- 35 ASU- 45
On paper USC has all of the pieces they need to slow down the ASU uptempo offense and put plenty of points on the board against the Sun Devils. In theory USC should win this game. The same could be said about Utah last week, and USC had the necessary pieces to at least be competitive with Stanford the week prior. This USC team has grossly under performed, however, in large part because of poor coaching. A coach’s job is to put his players in the best position to win. Clay Helton thus far has failed in that regard. I really, really want to pick USC to win here but unless Clay Helton and his staff show us that they can put this team in the best position to win, I just cannot.
Matthew Lowry: USC- 40 ASU- 31
The Sun Devils are coming into the Coliseum with a 4-0 record and catching USC at a “down” time, however ASU could be walking into a buzz saw. USC managed to get their offense moving against Utah, but their defense continued to have trouble at the line of scrimmage, while the secondary continued to get beat by the slant. This is a game where the Trojans offense could have a big day against the Arizona State defense, especially through the air. Arizona State has had issues stopping the pass and that trend may likely continue as they’ll have to cover guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darius Rodgers, and Steven Mitchell. The USC defense on the other hand will luxury of stopping an explosive Arizona State offense, led by quarterback Manny Wilkins. Statistically, this will be the best offense USC have faced thus far.
Arizona State tends to get off to a slow start during the first half of games, only for them to roar back and win. That trend won’t continue on the road against a USC team who’s looking to turn things around. The Trojans offense will make the Sun Devils pay early on, over Arizona State can score points and the defense haven’t shown that they can put pressure on a quarterback. Not to mention Clancy Pendergast has had issues with Arizona State’s offense in the past. USC will find their groove again come Saturday.
Steve Walter: USC- 42 Arizona State- 28
You can hear the chatter all around the Pac-12. USC is off to their worst start in years and everyone is asking ‘what happened to this perennial power?” The Sun Devils are licking their chops, believing they’ve got a legitimate shot to win two straight at the Coliseum. They may be undefeated, big we’re still talking about Arizona State, and they come in as 10 point underdogs.
USC will look to build on the positives from last week - and despite the crushing loss, there were many. Sam Darnold will be the difference in this one, and ASU will struggle to contain the Trojan offense. Look for USC to find their groove on Saturday night.
Darrien Starling: USC-34 Arizona State-31
Look for USC to finally complete the puzzle. The Trojans have gotten off to a rocky start this season but I believe they will finally get their act together. Sam Darnold will perform at a high level against the Sun Devil defense and make some plays with his legs. The Trojans’ offense has a good opportunity to have a great game and build confidence against an average defense. USC’s defense will bend but won’t completely break. I expect the Trojans to get off to a early lead and the rely on their defense to hold the Sun Devils off.
Joseph Kavaloski: USC 38 Arizona State 35
Arizona State’s dynamic offense will put up a lot of points, but this game will come down to which team can eventually stop the other. Although the Trojans have not been great defensively, I expect them to be better than a Sun Devil defense that has surrendered more than 40 points twice already this season.
This game will be a great opportunity for Sam Darnold to build on his confidence after the Utah game. In addition, the running game that was able to gash the Utes last Friday should be unstoppable against ASU. On defense, creating turnovers will be key to winning a high scoring game. Pendergast will dial up the blitz to make Wilkins uncomfortable, and the result will be a key turnover that proves to be the difference. USC pulls this one out—barely.
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