The Trojans, who are undefeated after hanging tough to beat an up-and-coming California Golden Bears team last week, look to continue their winning ways against #16 Washington State University and its high-powered offensive attack.
The Cougars are 4-0 - their best start in 16 years—and starting quarterback Luke Falk has that offense clicking, however USC will prove to be their first big test of the season.
On the year, Falk has 1,378 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and only one interception. This will be the best defense Falk has faced this year so it will be interesting to see how he plays.
Sam Darnold has struggled as of late, which could be an issue in this game. On the season, Darnold has thrown nine touchdowns and seven interceptions, a stat line that has a lot of Trojan fans worried.
Mike Leach knows how to get his team to put points in the board so this could easily turn into a shootout. If this turns into back-and-forth bout between both offenses, Darnold will need to make sure he is more polished than he has been all season.
The Trojan defense has been making plays over the last few games though and, frankly, they will need every ounce of playmaking they can get.
Cam Smith and the rest of the unit at linebacker played really well as of late. With the Cougars spreading the field on offense, look for Smith to be all over the place come Friday night.
Heading into this season I previewed this game as a potential “trap game.” USC is coming off a tough road game in Berkeley in which we did not see much from the Trojan running game. Look for Clay Helton to try and control the clock early to keep the ball out of the hands of the Wazzu offense.
It's hard to know what kind of team the USC Trojans are about to face, seeing that the best team that Washington State has played this year is Boise State - I would make argument that every team USC has played thus far is better than Boise State.
All this to say that this will be a fun game to watch. It's a Top-25 conference game, for crying out loud. Let's just hope we can get more consistency across the board so then we can, hopefully, see the Trojans exit the week with a win.