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USC vs. Texas Game Preview

USC looks to rebound from last weeks loss as they travel to Austin for a meeting with the Texas Longhorns.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Stanford Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

USC will look to rebound from last week’s 17-3 loss to Stanford with another tough road game. This time they travel to Austin to face the Texas Longhorns. The Trojans left Palo-Alto with more questions than answers. Now they must avoid a 1-2 start against a Texas team who’s also looking turn things around as well as avenge last years double overtime loss to the Trojans last season in Los Angeles.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Offense

USC offense looked like a team who didn’t know how to capitalize when in plus territory. The Trojans had multiple promising drives where they could reach the end zone, however penalties from the receivers, offensive line struggling with the pass rush, turnovers, and play calling hampered only gave the Trojans 3 points. The biggest thing was that quarterback JT Daniels looked like a freshman during the loss late in the 4th quarter.

The running game had some success against the Cardinal, but it wasn’t enough to factor into the game due to Stanford knowing that it was coming and the offensive line failing to generate a push. USC only netted 3.1 yards per carry and the highest rusher was Aca’Cedric Ware with 59 yards. The Trojans will have to get their run game going and utilize the hot hand a little more. Texas gave up 189 yards on the ground in their narrow 28-21 win over Tulsa. In two games the Longhorns has given up an average of 166 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. Look for USC to work towards getting their run game going again.

JT Daniels went 16-34 for 215 yards and threw two late 4th quarter interceptions. It was far from his performance against UNLV in the 2nd half. It wasn’t all Daniels, as the USC passing game was having issues for most of the night. The Trojans offensive line had issues with the Stanford pass rush all night. Daniels was sacked 4 times and pressured 4 times which threw him out of rhythm. The number of dropped passes didn’t help either (Some were obvious Pass Interference calls). There is good news, Daniels is finding chemistry and timing with sophomore Tyler Vaughns and it showed last week. They’re going to need that plus more of the Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown connection against a pretty athletic Texas secondary. Texas pass rush don’t generate a lot of pressure as they only have one sack this season, however the Trojans must find ways to make sure Daniels don’t face a lot of pressure that could throw off the offensive rhythm if they decided to pass.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Defense

The Trojans defense had another solid performance which kept the Trojans in the game against Stanford last week. The rush defense still needed some tuning as Bryce Love rushed for 136 yards off 22 carries and one rushing touchdown, however they only allowed Stanford to rush for 1 score and held Stanford to 159 yards on the ground which is a huge improvement compared to the 309 allowed against UNLV.

The USC secondary was also had it’s moments against Stanford’s wide receivers, however the pass rush was close to non-existent as KJ Costello had time to get his passes off to his receivers. JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Kaden Smith only had 4 receptions a piece and averaged 15 to 19 yards each. Most of it was due to the lack of a pass rush and break downs in coverage.

This weekend they’ll see Texas offense who also has quite a few athletes of their own. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger had an impressive performance last season at the Coliseum, however after that was a hit or miss. Last week against Tulsa he had an outstanding performance going 21-27 for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. USC will have to work to get pressure on Ehlinger as well as contain the run to give the Trojans a chance in the game. Texas is prone to turning the ball over. Look for the Trojans to expose that once again this week.

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

Key Notes

-Texas is currently a 3.5 point favorite over No. 22 USC.

-This will be USC’s first trip to Austin since 1966 where John McKay’s Trojans defeated the Longhorns coached by Darrell Royal 10-6. The Trojans are 2-0 against Texas on the road.

- Last season USC defeated Texas 27-24 in double overtime last season. Kicker Chase McGrath kicked a field goal to force overtime and another to give the Trojans the win over the Longhorns.