Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Southern Cal at Washington St.

Time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Martin Stadium, Pullman

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Records: WSU (2-6, 1-4 Pac-12); USC (5-3, 4-2)

Last time: WSU defeated USC 10-7 in Los Angeles (2013)

The line: USC by 7

What it means for WSU: Everything. The Cougars simply have to win or they won’t be eligible for the postseason and that means a step back in year three under Mike Leach after playing in a bowl game last season. The Cougars have a senior quarterback and other talented players who won’t be with the program next season so if WSU is going to continue to grow as a program it needs to turn what’s been a disappointing season into something positive.

What it means for USC: Well, for starters, bowl eligibility. But the Trojans have a far-too-talented team to be satisfied with playing in a low-tier bowl game, but that’s what they’re staring at after losing to Boston College and letting one slip away last weekend at Utah. USC fans aren’t going to be happy if Steve Sarkisian only wins seven games in his inaugural season, and with tough games at UCLA and Notre Dame still ahead, USC needs a win Saturday to build its record.

Key matchup: Leonard Williams vs. Connor Halliday

Washington State quarterback Halliday has been under more pressure in recent weeks and says he is to blame for not getting the ball out quickly enough or hitting his check-downs. Well, USC defensive end Williams is one of the most disruptive defensive players in the country and a candidate to go first overall in next spring’s NFL draft. Halliday needs to know where Williams is at all times and make sure he isn’t still holding the football.

Jacob Thorpe