With USC and Cal set to face off this Saturday, we break down some key match ups to look out for. In a game where both teams are 3-0, there are plenty compelling match ups in this game.
USC Secondary vs. Cal’s Air Raid
The last two weeks USC has seen teams that had a balanced attack. This week they’ll face a Cal team who loves to air it out. The USC secondary will have to be ready to defend, defend, defend against the Bears.
Thing with Cal is that they’re replacing their staring quarter back, running back, and team leading receivers. Let’s not forget that Cal is also replacing most of their offensive line, so the Trojans could bring pressure to help make life easier for the Trojans defensive backs.
Last week the Trojans were beat on a lot of deep pass attempts (Texas didn’t connect on many of them), so expect Iman Marshall and Jack Jones to come ready.
USC Offense vs. Cal 3-4 Defense
Cal’s head coach Justin Wilcox will have his 3-4 defense ready against his former team. Wilcox used to be the Trojans defensive coordinator and coached while Clay Helton was the interim head coach for the Trojans in 2015.
Once the interim tag was taken off Helton let go of Wilcox for Pendergast, who was Cal’s old defensive coordinator from 2010-2012. The USC offense led by Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones II has been a well oiled machine early on—however Texas may have put the blue print out on slowing down the Trojans.
The team is also banged up and could be without Steven Mitchell Jr. this Saturday. We could see USC try to impose their will against Cal on the ground this Saturday and utilize their skill. This will be a case of who knows who better.
USC Offensive line vs. Penalties
This has been an issue with the Trojans offensive line, penalties. It played a part in hurting the USC offense during the Western Michigan game and cost them a chance to blow the game open during the Texas game.
USC will be on the road for the first time this season, so the discipline will have to be at a high for this one. False start penalties could force the Trojans into a bad position which could hurt their offense and play things into the Bears hand.