USC lost to Oregon last Saturday night, knocking them out of controlling their destiny in making the Pac-12 title game. To make it now, USC must win out and hope Utah loses one game.
This Saturday, USC will hit the road to take on Arizona State. Arizona State comes into the game with a 5-3 record and looking to snap a two-game losing skid. USC is 5-4 and just 1-3 on the road this season. Here are some keys to the game for USC to earn their second road win
Stop The Running Game
The Sun Devils running back Eno Benjamin has 679 rushing yards on the season and averages 84 yards per game. Arizona State leans heavily on the running game to carry their offense. Also, freshman quarterback, Jayden Daniels has 273 rushing yards.
It will be a tough task for the Trojans defense to slow down the Sun Devils running game because they give up 184 yards rushing per game. USC should load up the box and attempt to slow down the Arizona State rushing attack by using an eight-man front. Doing that will allow a safety to come up and provide support with stopping the run.
Cornerbacks Need To Be Aggressive With Receivers
Arizona State uses a quick and balanced passing attack. Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels has thrown for 1,902 passing yards so far this season. Also, he has thrown 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
USC is talented at the corner position but are young. Look for corners Olaijah Griffin and Isaac Taylor-Stuart to play a lot of press-man coverage against Arizona State. Playing press-man will disrupt the Sun Devils quick passing game. With this coverage, if the corners anticipate right, it could lead to some interceptions.
Take Care Of The Football
USC must take care of the football. USC quarterback Kedon Slovis does an excellent job taking care of the ball usually, but when the pressure comes, he tends to panic and throws the ball anywhere, increasing the chance for turnovers. The Arizona State defense forces a lot of turnovers, they’ve only intercepted three passes but have recovered 11 fumbles.
USC has struggled to take care of the ball as of late, especially against Oregon at pivotal moments. Slovis must get rid of the ball quickly, and if nothing is there, throw it away. Hanging on to the ball could lead to some strip-sacks. Ball security will be crucial in this game, and it always is in road games.