Later tonight, Arizona State will be wrapping up its 4th straight home game to start the season by taking on the fifth-ranked team in the Country USC Trojans.
USC leads the all-time series 24-10 and is 7-5 over the last 12 times they’ve both played dating back to 2011.
Before 2011, USC had a 10-game winning streak against Arizona State and USC has won 3 of the last 4 matchups between the two teams dating back to 2019.
Heading into this game, USC is coming off a bye week but they have started this season at 3-0. USC’s offense is a big reason why as they are averaging 59.3 PPG which is 1st in the Pac-12 and 1st in the nation.
A big reason for this is their passing offense which ranks 4th in the Pac-12 and 4th in the nation at 395.7 yards per game. A lot of this is thanks to reigning Heisman trophy winner Caleb Williams who has thrown for 12 touchdowns and 0 interceptions and 878 yards through the air.
USC also has a ton of weapons on the outside for Williams and one of the guys that has been off to a fast start this season has been Tahj Washington who has been one of their big play receivers this year. So far every game this season, he has either 70 yards receiving or more on less than 5 catches a game.
Head Coach Lincoln Riley runs an Air Raid style offense that has been successful dating back to his days when he was at Oklahoma when he coached guys like Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts who are now successful franchise quarterbacks in the NFL.
There’s been talks that as a prospect, Williams is the best of the bunch and the best the NFL has seen since Andrew Luck entered the draft a decade ago.
USC is coming into tonight’s game against Arizona State as big favorites at -34.5.
Preview: Arizona State
Speaking of Arizona State, they’re off to a tough 1-2 start after they lost to red-hot Fresno State by a final score of 29-0. The offense generated 8 turnovers and had to play three different quarterbacks in the game due to injury.
For this game, they will be getting quarterback Drew Pyne back who head coach Kenny Dillingham says has had a good week of practice as well as the entire offense.
A thing to look at differently for tonight’s game is Kenny Dillingham is calling plays for Arizona State’s offense so the flow of the offense may look a little different tonight after they have failed to score in 6 quarters and a touchdown in the second half all season.
One of the bright spots on this ASU team has been their defense who hasn’t gotten a turnover all season but has limited touchdowns off the board at an impressive rate.
A big reason for this has been their rush defense which ranks 4th in the Pac-12 and inside the top 25 in the nation at 89.7 yards per game. The biggest test for Arizona State’s defense will come from their Passing defense which is also 4th in the pac-12 and 56th in the nation.
Demetrius Ford and Jordan Clark are going to have to be as disciplined as ever as both players are key to slowing down a potent USC offense tonight.
Prediction: USC vs. Arizona State
Brendan Mau Burn City Sports Insider
Prediction: USC 40, ASU 16
I expect Arizona State to be much more prepared this game on the offensive side of the ball. Drew Pyne had a good game last year against USC and has a full week of meaningful practice reps with the first team. I think Kenny Dillingham calling plays will also help to make sure ASU does not get shut out once again.
Will that preparation be enough? No, not against a team like USC. ASU’s defense, which has been stellar up until this point of the season, can limit some of the Trojans’ drives, but the USC offense has way too many weapons around a generational quarterback to not perform well against the Sun Devils.
The key to this game if ASU wants to make it interesting is to control the time of possession and help the defense get some rest against this USC offensive attack. They cannot turn the ball over like last week.
I think the Sun Devils can put together some long drives on offense, but overall it just won’t be enough because of just how good USC is. The Trojans have scored 56, 66, and 56 points in their three games this season, so holding them to 40 would actually be an accomplishment for a struggling team in ASU
Overall, a loaded offense and good enough defense (USC) meets an ASU team that hasn’t been able to do anything on offense (0 points in the last six quarters) to help out what has been a great defense. If ASU doesn’t figure something out offensively, this game could get ugly quickly.
Franklin Miller Burn City/ Arizona State Insider
Prediction: USC 47, ASU 21
A lot like my co-worker Brendan, I expect ASU’s offense to be a little refreshed with Kenny Dillingham calling plays. So much so that I got them starting off the game fast by marching the ball down the field and scoring a touchdown to get the crowd into it early.
However, Arizona State’s defense has not met an opponent like USC yet this season, and with two weeks to prepare, I expect Caleb Williams to be as flawless as ever and march the ball down the field fast and score them a touchdown as well.
After a few three-and-outs, I expect the game to get out of hand quickly for Arizona State and USC to win this game comfortably. The key for Arizona State is to control the time of possession and generate long drives.
This screams and Cameron Skattebo type of game with a lot of hard-earned yards rushing on the ground to keep the chains moving and control the clock as much as possible.
Once ASU starts playing catchup and has to start throwing the ball, it will be all she wrote.
Kick-off for tonight’s game is at 7:30 in what will be a sell-out crowd at Mountain America Stadium.