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Staff Predictions: ASU at USC

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The Conquest Chronicles staff shares their predictions for USC’s Pac-12 South showdown with Arizona State.

USC v Arizona State Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Matthew

How does USC rebound from last week’s debacle in Salt Lake City

What’s funny about this week is that it’s very similar to how things were a month ago. USC coming off an embarrassing showing and returning home to face an improved team who could give them fits on paper. This week the eyes are once again on the USC offense, who had a less than stellar performance against Utah. Keep in mind Utah’s defense is one of the best in the nation, however with the talent the Trojans have on that side of the ball you’d think they could get something going? The Trojans rushed for only 72 yards while passing for 132 yards. To make matters worse, True Freshman JT Daniels suffered an apparent concussion while back up quarterback had three broken ribs in the loss to the Utes. With Daniels not yet cleared, Jack Sears will get the call against the Sun Devils.

USC defense will game plan to slow down Manny Wilkins, N’Keal Harry, and the Sun Devils offense, however the biggest question will be if the USC offense can rebound against a decent ASU defense? One thing about Arizona State is that Herm Edwards made them very competitive and each of their losses have been by no more than seven points. Expect things to be close and kind of lack luster with a noon kickoff, however USC is a different team in the Coliseum. Trojans escape with a narrow win.

USC- 27 ASU- 21

Kenneth

The Trojans and Sun Devils are both having weird, up-and-down seasons. Who will be the latest to have an upswing?

It’s been a weird season for both USC and ASU. USC started the season with optimism and five-star freshmen at core positions. Depending on who you asked, USC could grow to eventually challenge for the College Football Playoff, or fall as a mediocre team overall. It seems more and more like the latter is correct, but the Trojans still have wins against both Washington State and Colorado, both which have been very impressive in the season thus far. USC’s losses can be read as devastating or expected. Stanford has been inconsistent, but managed to beat an impressive Oregon team. There’s no shame to losses to the Cardinal or the sixth ranked Longhorns. The only inexcusable loss has been to the hands of the Utes.

ASU’s season has been similarly strange. In Herm Edwards’ coaching return, he’s beat Michigan State and lost in one possession games to Stanford and Washington, two Pac-12 favorites.

I could decry USC’s injury problems. I could wax rhapsodic about how USC has managed to not fall apart despite injuries to the middle linebacker, safety, cornerback, and quarterback. Truth is, the Trojans have been a mess from the beginning of the season. Not falling apart due to injuries is just a reflection of how poorly this team has played from the start, highlighted by blowout losses to Texas and Stanford.

USC’s problems are not and never will be talent. It is systematic. Still, talent will be enough to best the Sun Devils.

20-18

Nathan

The USC Trojans are 4-3 overall, and due to the lack of success in the Pac-12 South, the Trojans are currently in second place in the standings. Furthermore, the Trojans are preparing to play the worst team in the Pac-12 South in the Arizona State Sun Devils, who has only one win against a conference team this season.

Even though the Trojans are playing at home where they have not lost in the last 19 contests, their match up against the Sun Devils will not be a guaranteed win. The Sun Devils have lost every game this season by a one score difference of seven points. The win-loss column does not have much to show, but the Sun Devils have definitely given the top teams in the country a good fight, something the Trojans will have to be aware of. In addition, the Sun Devils bring in a duel-threat quarterback who led the team in both passing and rushing last week against the Stanford Cardinal, with 353 yards and 41 yards respectively. Quarterback Manny Wilkins is a player the Trojans will have to keep an eye on if they wish to win this game.

After coming home from their third loss of the season, the Trojans look to rebound. With quarterback JT Daniels still in concussion protocol, redshirt freshman Jack Sears looks to take control the offense. A player who has not a single college snap of his career, will finally get the opportunity he has been waiting for. Sears, a graduate out of former quarterback Sam Darnold’s alma mater San Clemente High School, looks to give his team their fifth win of the season.

This 12:30 PM Pac-12 match-up will start off with sluggish offenses from both sides, as defenses will dominate. Once the second half starts however, Sears will begin to prove why he was the 2016 All-South Coast League Offensive Player of the Year. When all said is done, Sears will throw for three touchdowns and get his first college victory.

The Trojans cruise to a win, 31-14.

Dina

USC is coming off a horrendous loss to Utah and needs to notch a win to keep total disaster from befalling Troy.

Luckily the game is in the Coliseum, which usually gives the Trojans an added boost to their level of play. Though the USC offense will be without quarterback JT Daniels, third string and former San Clemente stand-out Jack Sears looks to be a competent dual-threat option.

Will Sears give the offense a spark against a less than stellar ASU defense? He has the skill level to do so as a former four-star recruit. I predict Sears will do well, though I do not think it will be another Max Browne/Sam Darnold situation. I predict two touchdown throws from the new starter.

Though his game against Utah was the worst this season, the problem with the USC offense does not entirely fall on Daniels as the run game has struggled to get going, the offensive line has offered up and down protection, and play calling has been questionable.

Once again it may be up to the USC defense to put this game away with a new quarterback behind center. Like the Trojans, the ASU Sun Devils have had much of the same offensive problems. ASU has struggled to get into the end zone and has the worst time of possession stats in the Pac-12.

I predict it will be easy pickings for a usually dominant USC defense.

Trojans keep their home win streak alive 24-14.