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Sports >  WSU football

Two-minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State against USC

Sept. 20, 2018 Updated Thu., Sept. 20, 2018 at 8:38 p.m.

Don’t take your eyes off …

USC coach Clay Helton said earlier this week WSU’s starting quarterback, Gardner Minshew, is just as good as his predecessor, Luke Falk. That means something because Falk was one of just three quarterbacks to beat the Trojans during the 2017 season. With Minshew behind center, the Cougars are going to the air more than they did with Falk last season. Through the first three games of 2017, Falk had completed 95 of 122 passes for 900 yards. Minshew’s completed 117 of 165 for 1,203 yards, and though he’s attempted 43 more passes than Falk, the East Carolina transfer has moved more fluidly through the pocket and he’s been sacked five fewer times.

When WSU has the ball …

The Cougars are supposed to have glowing depth at wide receiver this season and it’s been nothing short of that through three games. Expect Minshew to keep spreading the ball around Friday. Thirteen players have already caught a pass for WSU this season – everyone on the depth chart but Kassidy Woods and Brandon Arconado – and a different one has led the Cougars in receiving yards each of the three games. Versus Wyoming it was Jamire Calvin (82), against San Jose State it was Travell Harris (83) and in the most recent game against Eastern Washington it was Tay Martin (149).

When USC has the ball …

Helton probably won’t try to run the ball down WSU’s throat. USC’s leading rusher, Aca’Cedric Ware, has dealt with knee pain this week, sophomore Stephen Carr hasn’t been as productive as the Trojans probably hoped he’d be – with only 119 rushing yards in three games – and USC finished in the red, with minus-5 rushing yards, in the last game against Texas. That’s in part because the Trojans ran the ball 16 times and threw it 48 times. Freshman quarterback JT Daniels hasn’t thrown a touchdown since the season opener, but he should have plenty of chances to air it out against the Cougars.

Did you know?

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, home to USC and the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, is undergoing renovations that won’t be finished until 2019. The project will replace the stadium seats, bring WiFi to the Coliseum, add luxury seating, reduce seating capacity, upgrade the press box and improve concession stands. In total, the renovations are estimated to cost $315 million.

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