USC vs ASU — Game Day!

Marquee matchup

Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin vs. USC’s edge defenders. Few backs in the Pac-12 are as capable of doing damage on the perimeter as Benjamin. His productivity has waned from his huge campaign last season, but his talent is still very much intact. He has nine touchdowns, tied for fifth in the Pac-12. His speed could be an issue for a USC defense that has struggled to defend the edge. The return of dynamic defensive end Drake Jackson should help the Trojans, but it doesn’t completely solve a problem that’s been glaring all season.

Getting offensive

USC (432.7 ypg, 30.4 ppg)

Four turnovers sunk the Trojans a week ago against Oregon, and it’ll be incumbent on freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis to iron out those mistakes against another of the Pac-12’s best defenses. With USC still down to just freshman Kenan Christon in the run game, Slovis should be busy again after passing a school-record 57 times last week. But finding a better run-pass balance will be crucial. Coaches have alluded to a few new wrinkles in the run game, which could mean an increased role as a rusher for wideout Amon-ra St. Brown. For durability reasons, it isn’t likely to result in a larger workload for Christon, who is averaging more than seven yards per carry.

Arizona State (366.9 ypg, 23.4 ppg)

Whether freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels plays will be a game-time decision. He practiced all week, reportedly without any sign of injury. Daniels is a dangerous scrambler, but, like Slovis, he’s been prone to lapses in judgment. However, Daniels has thrown just two passes that were intercepted. His improvisation could be a problem for a USC defense that’s had issues with quarterbacks like him. If Daniels doesn’t play, Joey Yellen, a freshman from Mission Viejo, will be the starter. Yellen hasn’t thrown a pass or run the ball.

Getting defensive

USC (426.7 ypg, 28.3 ppg)

A return to full strength — or, at least, close to it — should boost to a defense that’s struggled the last two weeks. USC came out strong against Oregon, then lost discipline. After allowing 87 points the last two weeks, USC’s defense will need to be more consistent to slow an Arizona State offense that’s capable of tapping into the Trojans’ most glaring weakness — the perimeter. A reinforced defensive line will help; Christian Rector and Jackson (left) both are back in the lineup. But USC’s recent tackling problems are still a concern.

Arizona State (357.8 ypg, 21.1 ppg)

Until its last two games, in which it allowed 368 yards rushing, Arizona State’s run defense ranked among the best in the nation. After a bye, expect the Sun Devils to bounce back in that regard. Arizona State has trouble getting to the quarterback, with just 15 sacks in eight games. But it does create turnovers. No defense in the Pac-12 has forced more fumbles (11). Turnovers have sunk USC before. Arizona State hasn’t had a negative turnover margin in a game this season.

Something special

After giving up a 100-yard touchdown last Saturday, USC ranks last in the Pac-12 and 127th of 130 in college football in kickoff return yards allowed. This week, special teams coach John Baxter pointed to injury attrition as one reason that Trojans unit has struggled.

Of note

A win in Tempe would make USC bowl eligible, after it missed out on a bowl game last year following a 5-7 season.

Injury report

Jackson (ankle) and safety Talanoa Hufanga (shoulder) are expected to play but could be limited in their first games back. … Running back Stephen Carr (hamstring) is a game-time decision.

latimes.com

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TrojanDailyBlog members  —  Always feel free to add information or topics to the TDB which don’t necessarily pertain to any particular moderator post.

 

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Eastern Ave.
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Mediocrity rules the day with Helton…
Good for the Seniors. Bowl game.
Just not great either.
Fight On!

HOF19
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RichSC‏ @OriginalRichSC
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I know a lot of Trojan fans are actually disappointed USC won this game, because they think it might save Clay Helton. Newsflash: it won’t. Enjoy the win.

HOF19
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That’s right ……….ENJOY THE WIN !!!!!!!………..FIGHT ON !!!!!!!

TrojanMPA90
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Happy for the win but Helton has to go.

Scipio
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Another WTF victory by USC. Another win that feels like a loss. Have we checked into a Football Hotel California?

Trojan96
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The athletes look like they saved Helton’s Ass again.

HOF19
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What did the announcer just say ???????? ……And USC survives ……..That is the word SURVIVES !

Steveg
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Great athletic play by Rector.

HOF19
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Here comes the slow motion traffic accident ,,,!

Trojan96
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If Daniels was playing, ASU would 100% win this game. ASU should not be in this game.

Steveg
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I do not think Helton even realizes he is getting outcoached, week after week. Especially today. USC has so much more talent wise, but so little in staff.

HOF19
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Here comes the slow motion traffic accident !

ATL D.D.S.
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go defense!,

HOF19
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What is the next thing we are gonna try to do ……….And fail !

HOF19
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Anything we try do ….We just can not get done !

HOF19
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No team makes their own life harder than SC …………No team in the entire country.

TrojanMPA90
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Just get a few first downs and we win. Easy as cake.

HOF19
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Hey O-Line ……HOW ABOUT SOME SIMPLE THING CALLED RUN BLOCKING HERE !

TrojanMPA90
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Watch us blow this game by giving up a 99 TD drive.

HOF19
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Nobody gets open here ……Nobody .

HOF19
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Get a no-gain on first down D !

Steveg
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The best punt of the season by our Aussie punter.

Chris
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Quick pole- scale of 1 to 10. What’s your confidence level in winning this game? I am about a 2.

Steveg
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3

Carter
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Pole – not poll he says!

HOF19
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Helton looks very very concerned .

Paul_Muad_dib
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Helton’s got that stupid look on his face again…

Steveg
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That deer in the headlights look

HOF19
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And 3rd and 20 now !

HOF19
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I am now watching this game as if SC is BEHIND on the scoreboard !

TrojanMPA90
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If we hold on and win, Helton still needs to be fired. How we made a freshman QB look this good and let team come back this far is proof he has no clue what he is doing.

HOF19
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sc win this game ?………SC ?????????

HOF19
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C’MON SC ……WE CAN BLOW THIS GAME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ………….C’MON YOU CAN DO IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HOF19
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Like being inside a car that is going to be in a traffic accident with A BIG impact coming …….But moving in very slow motion !……AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO BUT SIT AND WAIT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chris
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I feel like we have played this exact game about 20 times in the last 3 years.

Steveg
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Like almost weekly

TrojanMPA90
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Defense with a big interception.

HOF19
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Just give ASU the Dang game already .

HOF19
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ASU being sloppy also .

TrojanMPA90
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And to think at the end of the 1st Quarter, I thought this game would be a blow out. Here I am watching the 4th Quarter and holding on for dear life.

TrojanRJJ
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Allen’s definition of Helton ball – it sucks the life out of you. We go up big in 1st Q and then slowly collapse

Trojan96
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Sloppy Sloppy Sloppy.

HOF19
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To me Helton looks like a guy fighting for his life .

HOF19
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We need the D to get a turnover !

HOF19
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The life of the average USC Trojan fan ( thanks to Clay Helton ) ….We have an 11 point lead and are nervous !

Steveg
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What I can see we will probably win, but it will feel like a loss. This game should have been a blow out.

TrojanMPA90
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A win is a win no matter how you get it.

Steveg
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But as you know, it doesn’t feel like a win. Just empty.

HOF19
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If Helton is arguing no fumble here he IS getting desperate .

Steveg
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Criston hits the hole so fast if it isn’t there he can’t see anywhere else to run. If the line can’t open a hole, run counter or the famous student body, pick your direction.

ATL D.D.S.
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Geez Louise…. just give the ball to ASU on their own 35.

Steveg
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There is your out of bounds kick off.

TrojanMPA90
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Defense is going to have to win this game for us.

Trojan96
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We need to mix in some cover 2 zone. And confuse this rookie QB. Man is too easy.

HOF19
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You might be right ……FIGHT ON !