College Football Game of the Week: No. 21 USC vs. No. 17 Washington
As the college football season begins Week 5, no game seems bigger than when the No. 21 USC Trojans pack their bags and head north to face the No. 17 Washington Huskies. This Pac-12 crossover game will be the 86th meeting between the two teams, with the Trojans leading the all-time series 52-29-4. This will be their first matchup since 2016, which USC won 26-13.
A big question mark coming into this game is the depth at quarterback for the Trojans. In Week 1, USC lost sophomore JT Daniels to an ACL injury, which will keep him sidelined for the entire season. Last week, backup Kedon Slovis went down in the first quarter with an apparent head injury. With Slovis still not out of concussion protocol, this likely leaves redshirt junior Matt Fink as the only scholarship quarterback remaining on the depth chart. This is a big deal for a team whose primary focus on the offensive side of the ball is the passing game.
USC’s passing game will be challenged by a very good Washington secondary. So far this season, the Huskies have allowed an average of 213 passing yards per game, which is good enough for second in the Pac-12. The Huskies’ strong defensive line will also help create a lot of pressure for whichever quarterback the Trojans put on the field.
Offensively for the Huskies, they will look for their trio of running backs, juniors Salvon Ahmed and Sean McGrew and redshirt freshman Richard Newton, to get the running game going. So far this season, Washington has averaged 191 rushing yards per game.
The Huskies also need a good game out of junior quarterback Jacob Eason. In Week 2, the Huskies were handed their only loss on the season by California. In that game, Eason was held to just 162 yards passing and no touchdowns. Eason will have a good opportunity to rebound this week, as the Trojans have a young secondary that has allowed a lot of big plays already this season.
The Trojans defense has been hit-or-miss. Their young secondary has been picked apart, and the defense in general has struggled to stop the outside run. With the Huskies looking to get the running game going, the Trojans may struggle to contain the three-man rotation that the Huskies have had so far.
USC is coming off of a rather disappointing season in which the Trojans went a disappointing 5-7. Having cracked the top 25 for the first time this season, they are hoping to prove themselves worthy of a permanent spot in the AP Poll. The Trojans are also 2-0 this season against teams ranked in the top 25.
Washington comes off of a season in which they lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes 28-23 in the Rose Bowl. Trying to once again put themselves on the map of teams in the hunt, the Huskies face a big opportunity to show out against another top 25 opponent.
The game will be aired on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on Fox.
Prediction: Washington 28, USC 17
Ben Mooney is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.