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Sports >  WSU football

First look: Washington State at USC

UPDATED: Mon., Sept. 17, 2018

USC quarterback JT Daniels (18) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (Eric Gay / AP)
USC quarterback JT Daniels (18) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (Eric Gay / AP)

What is it? Washington State (3-0) looks to stay unbeaten when it opens up Pac-12 Conference play against USC (1-2).

Where is it? Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

When is it? Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Where can I watch it? ESPN will carry the national TV broadcast.

Who is favored? As of Monday afternoon, USC was a four-point favorite.

How did they fare last week? The Cougars rolled past FCS opponent Eastern Washington 59-24 at Martin Stadium in Pullman. The Trojans stubbed their toe at Texas, losing 37-14 after holding a 14-3 lead in the first quarter.

Why WSU will win: In their loss at Texas, the Trojans finished minus-3 in net rushing yards and lead tailback Stephen Carr had just 13 yards on six carries. The Longhorns aren’t supposed to be proficient in stopping the run, ranking just 90th nationally in rushing yards allowed per game. The Cougars, meanwhile, are tied for 14th in the same category, so USC may lean on true freshman quarterback JT Daniels to move the Trojans through the air. That might be OK with the Cougars; ,. Daniels hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in his past 89 pass attempts, with three picks over that span.

Why USC will win: The Trojans struggled in each of their past two games, but both were played on the road, and you can bet they’ll be glad to return to Los Angeles. At the Coliseum, USC owns one of the top home winning streaks in the country. The Trojans’ 17 straight wins rank second in the nation to Alabama and they haven’t lost at home they haven’t lost at home since falling 17-12 to Washington on Oct. 8, 2015. Teams that have to travel on a short week in the Pac-12 typically don’t have much success – something WSU and USC both know well. The Cougars lost to Cal on a Friday night in Berkeley last season, and the Trojans lost to the Cougars on a Friday night in Pullman.

What happened last time? In a game between the 5th-ranked Trojans, the 16th-ranked Cougars and their NFL-level quarterbacks, WSU and Luke Falk outlasted Sam Darnold and USC for a massive 30-27 victory at Martin Stadium in 2017. Falk finished 34-of-51 for 341 yards and two touchdowns, Jamal Morrow took a shovel pass 35 yards to the end zone and Erik Powell booted the game-winning field goal with 1:40 left. WSU’s defense sealed the upset win on USC’s next possession, when Jahad Woods escaped on a linebacker blitz to sack Darnold as the QB was winding up. The ball popped out and the Cougars’ Derek Moore recovered.

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