It’s been almost two weeks since both No.17 USC and unranked Washington have taken the field. On Thursday night, the Pac-12 rivals meet at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, looking to improve their standings in the conference.
USC bounced back from their home loss to Stanford with a victory at Arizona State in their last game. The Trojans defeated the Sun Devils by 28 points, as quarterback Cody Kessler threw for 375 yards and five touchdowns. The Huskies are coming off a six-point loss at home against California, and things don’t get any easier in their visit to USC.
The Trojans have been led by a high-powered offense that ranks among the best in the country. Only four teams in the nation are averaging more than USC’s 46.8 points per game, and Kessler is playing like a top Heisman Trophy candidate. He’s thrown 15 touchdowns and just one interception, averaging 324 passing yards per game.
Even in USC’s lone loss, Kessler had a terrific game, completing 25 of his 32 pass attempts for 272 yards, three scores and no interceptions. It’s the Trojans’ defense that failed them in their one loss, allowing 41 points to Stanford. USC's front seven looked particularly overmatched by the Cardinal's stellar offensive line.
Washington’s only hope at remaining competitive with USC might be to keep pace in a high-scoring affair, but the Huskies will have trouble keeping up with the Trojans’ offense. Head coach Chris Petersen’s squad totaled 80 points in their two wins, but the offense had setbacks against tough competition. The Huskies put up just 13 points against Boise State and they were limited to 24 points against California, who surrendered 44 points to a struggling Texas team.
USC is a heavy favorite against Washington, giving the Huskies 17 points at Las Vegas sportsbooks, according to vegasinsider.com. The Trojans have gone 3-1 against the spread, only failing to cover when they lost to Stanford as nearly 10-point favorites. Washington is 3-1 against the spread, as well, nearly upsetting Boise State in their opener when they were 13-point underdogs.
The over/under is 56 points. Each game involving USC's has totaled at least 56 points, and none of Washington's games have totaled more than 54 points.
This is the first meeting between the two schools since 2012, when USC defeated Washington in Seattle, 24-14.
Prediction: The Huskies will likely put forth a stronger effort than they did against Cal, but it's hard to see Washington defeating USC in Los Angeles. Odd things seem to happen in Thursday night games, and this matchup might not be as one-sided as it looks on paper. Don't be surprised to see a lot of turnovers and penalties.
USC over Washington, 37-21