Adding controversy to an already disappointing season only make things worse for the USC Trojans, who square off against the Arizona State Sun Devils Saturday at Los Angeles Coliseum.
After their near narrow 62-51 loss to Oregon last week, news came out that a USC student manager purposely deflated balls to give the Trojans an advantage.
The trick didn’t work, the manager was fired, and now head coach Lane Kiffin is reportedly on the hot seat.
The Trojans were expected to be national championship contenders this year, which was the main reason senior quarterback Matt Barkley stayed one more year rather than entering the NFL draft.
Instead they were scorched by Oregon running back Kenjon Barner, who totaled 321 yards and five touchdowns. The Ducks scored a quick 14 points in the first quarter, and it would prove to be the difference as the two teams traded scores for the rest of the game.
Barkley went 35-for-54 for 484 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, and receiver Marqise Lee continued his stellar play with 12 receptions for 157 yards and two scores.
USC now has three losses, and their inconsistent and beleaguered defense take on an Arizona State team that puts up 37 points per game.
The Sun Devils, however, couldn’t find their offense last week against Oregon State and fell 36-26 in their second lowest scoring game of the season.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly led the Sun Devils with 153 passing yards and 80 yards on the ground against Oregon State. Receiver Marion Grice caught Kelly’s only touchdown pass, and had six total catches for 43 yards.
Arizona State is on a three game slide with their defense surrendering an average of 41 points during the skid.
The contest begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast by the Pac-12 Network.
Prediction: The Trojans have been inconsistent ever since their first loss of the season to Stanford, but Barkley has a lot to prove and should lead his team past all the controversy for the victory.
Betting Odds: USC is favored by 9 points
Over/Under: 63 points
Predicted Score: USC 34 , Arizona State 27