X-Factors for USC Trojans Home Matchup Against Oregon State

Ahmad Akkaoui
USC interim coach Donte Williams rallies the troops.

X-Factors for USC Trojans Home Matchup Against Oregon State

The USC Trojans are going into Saturday’s game against Oregon State extremely optimistic — but the reality is, they will be battle-tested night in and night out.

This Oregon State team is solid on both sides of the ball, and they can put points on the board in all facets. If USC misses a step, they may be down a few touchdowns and have to climb up a steep hill.

USCFootball.com broke the news that freshman QB Jaxson Dart underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his knee that happened during last week’s win against Washington State — so Dart probably won’t be dressed. 

These are the X-Factors for this game:

USC

Drake London

With 29 receptions for 375 yards and three touchdowns in three games, he’s ranked second in receptions and fourth in receiving yards in the country. Junior QB Kedon Slovis is the likely starter over freshman QB Miller Moss, so he needs to find his favorite receiver early and often. London is going to get a lot of attention from the entire secondary, plus the assignment to beat either CB Rejzohn Wright or CB Alex Austin one-on-one. He has to surpass expectations and show why he deserves to be in the conversation of elite receivers in college football. 

USC defense

They’re going to have their hands full against Oregon State as the Beavers lead the Pac-12 in total yards per game with 453 — 259 passing yards and 194 rushing yards. QB Chance Nolan, who is expected to start this game, averages about 10 yards a throw at about a 70% completion rate. RB B.J. Baylor ranks second in rushing yards and third in average yardage with almost 7 yards per rush in Pac-12 stats.

Interim HC Donte Williams said their offense is extremely explosive and deep, and they use a lot of different personnel to mix things up.

“They do different things that create some problems whether it’s motions or shifts and using pick-type plays, so it’s more about us being sound — especially with our eyes and the things that we need to do,” he said. “As long as we play extremely disciplined football, which I know Coach [Todd] Orlando will have those guys ready to play and be disciplined about the things they do, you know, we’ll be fine.”

Oregon State

Linebackers

The defensive line has to disrupt Slovis’ game plan and get him out of the pocket. If they get Slovis uncomfortable, they’ll win the game. As a team, they have seven sacks, five interceptions, and 19 pass deflections — but the anchor of that defense is the linebacking unit, led by junior Avery Roberts and senior Andrzej Hughes-Murray — who account for a portion of each of those stats.

B.J. Baylor

Baylor has to run wild on the Trojans. USC allows 102.7 rushing yards a game on average, so he has to make sure he gets a lot of quality touches in order to help his team beat USC.


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USC is an 11-point favorite at home against the Oregon State Beavers in this Saturday night matchup. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on FS1.

USC interim coach Donte Williams rallies the troops. – USC Twitter page