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Staff Predictions: #22 USC at Texas

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


JT Daniels clearly wasn't ready for the big stage against Stanford on the road, as the USC offense scored just three points. It won't get any easier this week as he'll head into what should be a packed house of close to 100,000 Texas fans.

However, even in the loss, USC did show the ability to move the football and were able to establish consistency on the ground game. A lack of big plays and finishing drives hurt the offense, as they had six drives that made it past the Stanford 40 and finished with just 10 yards of offense less than Stanford. Fixing those issues could get USC's offense going.

Meanwhile, USC's defense was exceptional, as they managed to slow down Heisman candidate Bryce Love and held Stanford to 17 points, keeping USC in the game.

Texas is a team that lost to Maryland week one and beat Tulsa by a mere touchdown last week. Look for USC's defense to finally create some turnovers against a sloppy Texas team and the run game to carry Daniels.

USC 31-20


Does USC finally figure out their offensive woes to win on the road?

All week the Trojans have heard about their poor offensive performance against Stanford last week. They have a chance to get back on track this week, however it’ll be tough as they go on the road to face Texas. A true road game for JT Daniels.

The Longhorns has shown the ability to match up with USC due to the athletes they have on both sides of the ball. The biggest concern is the Trojans ability to keep pressure off of freshman quarterback Daniels. Texas brings a lot of zone pressure and will attempt to follow’s Stanford’s game plan to rattle Daniels. USC did show promise in moving the ball last week and getting into plus territory.

USC defense done a solid job against Stanford and kept the Trojans in the game for the most part. Texas has playmakers at wide receiver in Charles Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey, however quarterback Sam Ehlinger has shown issues in protecting the ball against Maryland and Tulsa. Look for the Trojans to try and take advantage of that.

Both teams will be looking to turn things around. This will be a pretty close game just like last year. The USC offense will finally get on track and find the end zone and USC defense will get some key stops to give the win in Austin.

USC- 34 Texas-21


The USC Trojans go on the road to face the Texas Longhorns. USC took the game last year in double overtime and Texas wants revenge. The game is sold out and it’s safe to say its going to be a hostile environment. With both teams looking to get back to national relevance, there will be a lot of pressure in this game.

I think if USC gets the ball to Amon-Ra St. Brown and Stephen Carr enough then I think they will win this game. If they only give the ball to St. Brown twice and only give it to Carr 10 times like they did last week against Stanford, I think Texas will win.

Another huge factor in this game will be the play of the offensive line. They haven’t played up to par this year after having high expectations coming into the season. The line will be the key factor in getting the run game going. If the run game get’s going then the passing game will open.

Come Saturday, I don’t think the Trojans make the right adjustments. They won’t get the ball to their playmakers enough and the offensive line will play sloppy.

USC 13 Texas 17


Last week, JT Daniels and the USC offense showed me that they aren’t ready for a big stage. For some reason, Daniels failed to connect with Amon-Ra St. Brown, and they closed the game with only a field goal. Against a talented Stanford front, USC was unable to get much of a running game either.

The USC defense, however, was much of the same; that’s good, but not great. The USC defense held Stanford to just 17 points despite little support from the offense. Just like in week one against UNLV, the defense consistently won on all fronts. Bryce Love had few long runs, and the secondary, led by Iman Marshall, held JJ Arcega-Whiteside to just 62 yards on four receptions and no touchdowns.

The problem is that the USC defense has failed to stop offenses when it mattered. Against UNLV, USC overloaded one front and allowed a fake punt to go for big yards. Against Stanford, USC’s front allowed Love to gain the edge a few times, resulting in a few big gains that significantly increased Love’s average yards per run. In third down plays against Stanford, it seems as though the USC defense forgot that a tight end is a position is football.

Alas, Texas is not Stanford, and USC should be both more talented and better coached than the Longhorns. USC wins an ugly, low scoring game with the Texas offense failing to capitalize against USC late.

USC escapes with a win. 14-10.


Fun fact: USC hasn’t won in Texas since 1996. Call me crazy, but I’m betting the Trojans break this embarrassing losing streak on Saturday.

First of all, Texas is no Stanford. Compared to the Cardinal, the Longhorns have a severe lack of talent in the players and coaching staff. However, Texas does have the better home-field advantage by far, which is one of the reasons why the Trojans have not won in Texas in over 20 years.

The Longhorns’ rowdy home-field crowd is obviously a bad matchup for both young quarterback and receiver JT Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown, as they displayed last week against Stanford that they aren’t quite ready for this amount of pressure just yet. However, I’m optimistic that they will find a way to prove everybody wrong and bounce back in an even tougher environment. If the defense, led by senior linebacker Cameron Smith, continues to play solid defense, the Trojans have a real shot at prevailing. USC wins a close one to get back on track.

USC 21 Texas 17


The USC Trojans failed to score a touchdown last week for the first time since 2016. Their task does not get any easier this week as they go on the road to face the Texas Longhorns.

The biggest problem for the Trojans offense last week was their failure to capitalize on big time situations. The Trojans had only two offensive plays where they gained more than 20 yards; the first one did not come until early in the second half on a 45-yard pass from JT Daniels to Michael Pittman Jr. Nonetheless, the defense for the Trojans did improve, only giving up 159 rushing yards to the Cardinals after giving up 303 yards on the ground in the season opener. However, the Stanford Cardinal proved to be a much more prepared team than the Trojans last week, and head coach Clay Helton will look to change that.

Even though the Longhorns are an unranked team, the Trojans will have to have a good game plan if they look to win their second game of the season. The Trojans defense will have their hands full with Longhorns quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, who is a much more improved player than last season. In addition, the Trojans will have to shut down Longhorns receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey to have any chance at winning this game.

I believe that the Trojans will come into this game very motivated, and not have the environment of Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium intimidate them. Daniels will play with more composure this week and not turn the ball over. As a result, the Trojans will play a hard-fought game, keeping this one close going into the fourth quarter. When all said is done, the Trojans will show their resilience and pull away late.

The Trojans come out on top. 31-21.


The USC Trojans and the Texas Longhorns are more similar than one might think. Both have not lived up to their potential this season and both have coaches fans are not 100 percent sold on. Will the Trojan offense finally pick apart a defense to the best of their ability?

JT Daniels has openly said he places the most blame on himself for USC’s loss to Stanford last week, that first sting of defeat I feel will motivate the true freshman to come out guns blazing down in Austin. This will be a breakout came for the former No. 1 rated high school quarterback where he will get his chance to put up multiple passing touchdowns.

After the unusual lack of Amon-Ra St. Brown last week which was one of the reasons the Trojans had trouble finding the end zone, I think (hope) Tee Martin will give Daniels his favorite target as much as possible. This will be the game where fans really get to see what the full fledged might of Daniels and St. Brown can give to the Trojan offense, and I predict the true freshman wide receiver will have at least two touchdowns against a struggling Texas defense and a huge punt return.

As for USC’s defense, to stop Texas they need to take away quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s dual threat capabilities. Last year Ehlinger showed the Coliseum his heart and his legs by almost leading the Longhorns to an overtime win in Los Angeles, this time it’s personal as the Trojans enter his home territory of Austin, Texas. Ehlinger will come out ready to be the hero in burnt orange, though he has some fatal flaws.

If USC can pressure him into attempting uncomfortable throws and stop his rush power, then Ehlinger will more than likely throw a couple costly turnovers as he did last season and against Maryland in the Longhorns 2018 season opener.

Trojan corner back Iman Marshall must take away the Collin Johnson threat that USC is so familiar with. In last year’s game Johnson had seven catches for 191 yards, letting him repeat stats like that will not bode well for USC’s chances at a victory. The Trojan pass defense has been solid this year, and Marshall stepped up against leading Stanford receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, stopping him from repeating his 225 yard reception record he had against SDSU.

If USC can take away Texas’ passing lanes, and stop dual threat Ehlinger all while the offense is firing (and converting) in the end zone, then there is no reason the Trojans shouldn’t make it 2-0 against Tom Herman’s Longhorns.

USC 28 Texas 17


Whenever the Texas Longhorns play the USC Trojans, the game atmosphere instantly feels like a classic. Regardless of the on-field product, watching the legendary cardinal red and gold jerseys line up against the orange uniforms symbolizes two of college footballs most iconic programs and brands. Fortunately for the Trojans, they are visiting Austin in 2018 as the better team. They have more talent on both sides of the ball, but Clay Helton has yet to utilize the full potential of this talented roster through the first two games of the season. Hopefully, tomorrow will demonstrate a positive sign of growth for this young Trojan squad.

On the other side of the field, the Texas Longhorns dropped the ball in week 1 against an unranked Maryland squad, and managed to squeeze out a Week 2 victory against Tulsa by one measly touchdown. By all accounts, the Trojans have the better roster heading into this game, but they are going to need to put points on the board to walk away with a win. JT Daniels has only one touchdown pass through two games, which is not entirely his fault, but he will need to be more effective than he was at Stanford in order to move the chains. As an 18 year old starting quarterback, Daniels’ week-by-week improvement will have crucial implications on USC’s bowl game status come winter. Last week should serve as a valuable learning experience, and tomorrow should mark Daniels’ best game as a Trojan to date. We will find out soon enough.


USC 27 Texas 17