No. 11 USC at Washington
Saturday, 7:00 PM, FOX
Line: USC -12
USC comes in as a contender to win the Pac-12 South Division. Washington is just trying to stay above .500 on the season. But the Huskies are also seeking to move to 4-0 in their temporary digs at CenturyLink Field. Funnily enough, the head coach of the permanent residents of the stadium is Pete Carroll, who served as the boss to both of the head coaches in this game. The Seahawks face the Patriots that Sunday; maybe Carroll will stop by to visit with his proteges before the game.
Speaking of the game, let's take a close look at the matchup.
For USC to win: The Trojans must play their game. Utilize the weapons that they possess on offense and defense and this should be an easy victory. Granted, trips to Seattle are never easy, and CenturyLink field has been a kind temporary home for the Huskies, including an upset victory over Stanford a couple of weeks ago—the same Stanford that beat the Trojans already this season.
For Washington to win: Avoid turning the ball over. The Huskies found themselves in a hole quite early last week in Eugene against the Ducks, and they did not help themselves throughout the course of the game by coughing the ball up five times enroute to the 52-21 loss. Possession of the ball is critical for the Huskies, as they are going to need to shorten the game if they want to stay in it. USC has the potential to be explosive, and a quick strike off of a turnover could make it a long evening.
Key Player, USC: Robert Woods, WR. Woods has five touchdowns on 31 receptions, but his yards per catch are in the single digits. Marquise Lee is viewed as a bigger threat, and Silas Redd will be keyed on as well since the Huskies gave up nearly 300 yards rushing last week. Woods could have a breakout game in a pro stadium this week if given some more targets.
Key Player, Washington: Keith Price, QB. Price has struggled a bit this season, and admitted as much this week. He's completing less than 60 percent of his passes this season, for 882 yards and only five touchdowns against four interceptions. Price has to play better to keep opponents from loading up the box against Bishop Sankey, starting with this game.
Key Stat: 186 games. That's how long it has been since USC scored no points in a game. The streak can extend to 187 on Saturday night. The last team to shut USC out? Washington, in Seattle on November 1, 1997.
Stranger things have happened, but it looks like the Trojans streak will extend for one more week after Saturday.