The 4th-ranked Huskies have another challenge on their hands as they host the 20th-ranked USC Trojans in a Pac-12 matchup that will be broadcast nationwide. Will the Dawgs be able to keep their playoff hopes alive after this showdown?
As it stands right now, the Huskies are atop the Pac-12 North and USC is a game behind Colorado for the lead in the Pac-12 South.
ESPN’s College Gameday will be in attendance for the game’s festivities and plenty of eyes nation-wide will be on the matchup in Husky Stadium.
If the Huskies want to stay in the conversation for making the playoffs, this will be a great game to showcase that they’re deserving of a spot in front of a nation-wide audience against a tough opponent.
Speaking of which…
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No. 20 USC Trojans
Head Coach: Clay Helton (2nd season)
Offense: After a rough start to the season in which the Trojans went 1-2 and were struggling on offense, Helton made the change at quarterback from redshirt junior Max Browne, a former prep star at Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington, in favor of the redshirt freshman quarterback, Sam Darnold.
With Darnold as the signal-caller, the Trojans have gone 5-1 and have won their last five games. Darnold has played exceptionally, throwing 20 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions and 1,874 yards thus far. The freshman has completed 67.9 percent of his passes, and has a passer rating of 168.1.
The Huskies’ secondary will have a tough matchup against Darnold, as he hasn’t made very many mistakes and is very accurate.
On the ground, the Trojans are led by Ronald Jones II, a sophomore running back who has 679 yards this season with seven touchdowns.
Jones has been exceptional of late, running for 394 yards and five touchdowns over his last two games. With a hot backfield, the Trojans will hope to move the ball against the tough Huskies defense, who just lost star defensive end Joe Mathis for the season with a foot injury.
A fun matchup to watch will be Huskies’ star cornerback Sidney Jones going up against JuJu Smith-Schuster, the playmaking receiver for USC. Smith-Schuster has eight touchdown receptions this season and has 641 yards receiving thus far.
Star quarterback Jake Browning continues to dazzle and make his case for the Heisman memorial Trophy after throwing for 378 yards and six touchdowns in last week’s victory over Cal.
Browning now has 34 passing touchdowns, four rushing scores, 2273 yards passing and is completing 67.7 percent of his passes with just four interceptions. He continues to find John Ross III and Dante Pettis who are making plays each and every game.
Gaskin has 952 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns and a receiving score as well.
Coleman has 600 yards rushing and six touchdowns and is averaging an incredible 9.1(!) yards per carry.
On defense, as mentioned previously, Mathis, the leader in sacks for the Huskies thus far, is out for the season with an injury to his foot. Luckily, the Huskies still have incredible playmakers with Jones, Budda Baker, Azeem Victor and so many more key contributors. The other members of the defensive line will have to step up in Mathis’ absence, but based on what we’ve seen thus far, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Huskies 44 USC 24
The Huskies have another opportunity to make a statement and they will come ready to play in front of a rocking crowd at Husky Stadium.
With ESPN’s College Gameday and the nation watching, the Dawgs will take care of business and improve to 10-0.