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USC vs Arizona: Keys to the Game

What are some keys to a USC victory in Tucson this weekend?

NCAA Football: Arizona at Southern California Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

USC will be looking to grab their first road win of the season this Saturday as they travel to Tucson to face Arizona. Both teams are looking for a key division win on their way to the Pac-12 Championship game. The Trojans overcame a close one over Washington State. They now turn to an Arizona Wildcats team who’s looking to knock off USC and win their 3rd straight game. What are some keys for the Trojans to leave the desert with a victory?

NCAA Football: Southern Utah at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Pressure Khalil Tate

In the games against Houston, the Cougars pressured Khalil Tate and disrupted the Wildcats offense. USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast followed that same game plan when they bottled Tate up for most of the game in last years meeting. The same game plan must apply this weekend if the Trojans want to get out with a victory. The last three games, USC failed to create a lot of pressure on the quarterback, If there’s any game for them to dispel those issues and contain Khalil Tate then this is it. If not then it will be a long night for the USC defense.

Run The Carr!

Stephen Carr has provided a spark for the Trojans offense on the ground. Last week, He broke off a 50 yard run on his third carry of the game. Against an Arizona team who gives up 190 yards a game on the ground, USC must feed Carr and work the ground game to open up the passing game for USC.

Take pressure off JT Daniels

Why this has been pretty hard? The USC pass rush has not helped JT Daniels a lot, however the freshman quarterback hasn’t seen a lot of plays designed to take pressure off of him. Last week USC saw what their passing game looks like when Daniels is given enough time to thrown or when they set him up in situations to quickly get the ball out of his hands. USC’s offensive line and coaching staff must take pressure off and get creative to take some pressure off of him. If that happens then USC should have their way with Arizona’s defense.

Win the Third Down Battle

Third down has become the Trojans defense worst enemy. Last week Washington State went 7/13 on third down and 3/3 on 4th down. Against the Wildcats the USC defense has to win on third down or risk being picked apart by Arizona. Clancy Pendergast has to put Arizona in 3rd and long situations and force Khalil Tate to throw errant throws opposed to the opposite which is what they’ve done last week.