clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Keys to the Game: USC vs. ASU

USC will attempt to bounce back after a crushing loss to the Utah Utes. Here are some keys to a critical Pac-12 South match-up.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Trojans left Salt Lake City with a couple of big blows to their offense. JT Daniels was given a concussion and is doubtful to play against Arizona State, while Matt Fink has been ruled out for the game with a few broken ribs. That leaves Jack Sears as the lone, healthy scholarship quarterback. Not only is USC’s home-game win streak on the line, but if the Trojans fall to this explosive Sun Devil team their chances of winning the Pac-12 South are slim.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Find a Way to Run the Ball

If JT Daniels is indeed ruled out and Jack Sears is given his first career start, the Trojans will have to find a way to get the run game going. It is absolutely essential for USC to be able to run the ball effectively because then a lot of pressure will be taken away from an inexperienced Sears. If the Trojans are unsuccessful in with running the ball then it is likely that Sears will struggle in his debut. Luckily, the ASU defense isn’t anything to be scared of.

Slow Down N’keal Harry

USC will be facing another top receiver in the country in N’keal Harry. He’s big, fast, strong, and will assuredly be playing on Sundays in the future. The Trojans had a good amount of success a couple weeks ago when they faced off against Colorado and Laviska Shenault Jr. Iman Marshall will most likely get the most looks against Harry but look for a similar style of defense that the Trojans used against the Buffaloes.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Southern California Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Have a Game Plan

This is a far-fetched idea considering the fact that it doesn’t seem like Clay Helton has had a game plan in any game this season, but one can hope right? Maybe a light bulb went off in the coaching staff and they decided to try something new. Although, it would be expected that they would practice more after a bad loss. Instead, they cut practice early to watch film. It’s unknown what kind of game plan Helton and Co. will have this Saturday.

Pressure the Quarterback

USC always struggles against mobile quarterbacks and unfortunately, they have another tough test against Manny Wilkins. It also doesn’t help that the Trojans lost their best pass rusher Porter Gustin for the year. On the bright side, there is a ton of talent along the Trojans front-seven and it’s time for someone to step up and take over.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports