The USC Trojans have yet to be a consistent football team this year. Will Saturday’s match-up against the Oregon State Beavers lead bold outcomes for the Trojans? Here are our predictions.
JT Daniels throws for over 300 yards
Coming off a week break because of a concussion, I predict that starting quarterback JT Daniels will come out fresh and ready to dominate Oregon State’s defense. On average the Beavers allow opponents to pass for 273 yards per game. Quarterbacks who face this OSU defense have averaged 13 yards per completion, which bodes well for deep threat Daniels. Wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. has made a surge to the top of USC receiving and big play charts, with 352 yards through the last three games and five touchdowns. Look for Daniels to exploit the mismatches between Pittman Jr. and his coverage.
With Tee Martin handing over the playbook to Clay Helton, I predict Daniels will finally have the training wheels taken off and be given the opportunity to take the game into his and the offense’s capable hands. Having sat last week and watched the offense from the sidelines will have helped slow the game down for Daniels and allowed him to run game time situations through his head at an easier pace. I predict no interceptions, three touchdowns, and 300 plus yards this week against Oregon State.
Coaching changes will give USC their needed spark
It’s no secret that play calling has been USC’s achilles heel. With Helton now calling the shots on offense I predict we will see a performance that doesn’t seem forced. With offensive line coach Neil Callaway out and running back coach Tim Drevno filling in, the struggling run game has nowhere to go but up, and this change just might be the spark. Aca’Cedric Ware has been hot when the offensive line is able to create holes and with the three headed monster of Ware, Stephen Carr, and Vavae Malepeai there is no reason why the run game should not skyrocket if a fire is lit. I predict the game against OSU will be a positive turning point for the offensive line and the Trojan offense as a whole.
With Helton calling plays, the hope for USC faithful is an offense that will move away from the dragging predictability and transform into the firing canon it looks to be on paper. Third down conversions and plays to keep the chains moving is what I think the offense will achieve against the Beavers. Every play doesn’t have to be flashy, but every play should set up Daniels and Co. with positive yards and a chance for an end zone finish.
Cameron Smith leads injury ridden defense in memorable performance
The USC defense is facing an uphill battle internally with the mega-list of injured players. Luckily senior captain Cameron Smith is back and ready to play after a three game hiatus nursing an injury of his own. Smith comes ready to dominate every game, and there is no reason why this one should be any different against a struggling OSU team who is last in the Pac-12 standings.
I predict Smith will lead the team in tackles with a season best of 16 and shut down Beavers’ star running back Jermar Jefferson, who has 1,034 yards on the season. With Smith back in captaining the defense, and fellow captain Marvell Tell III back at safety, I predict that Oregon State will have trouble all night finding the end zone. With Clancy Pendergast dialing up a commanding game plan and Smith leading the charge, USC’s injury list will be forgotten if only for one night. The Trojan defenders hold OSU to a maxed out limit of seventeen.