In the news:
Preview: USC @ Washington
Washington (3-2, 1-1); USC (4-1, 2-1) Time: 4 p.m., CenturyLink Field. TV: FOX. Radio: KJR 950-AM, 102. 9-FM. Line: USC by 12 1/2. The setup setup: Huskies...
Washington (3-2, 1-1); USC (4-1, 2-1)
Time: 4 p.m., CenturyLink Field.
TV: FOX. Radio: KJR 950-AM, 102.9-FM. Line: USC by 12 1/2.
The setup: Huskies return home after a 52-21 loss at Oregon last week while the Trojans are playing their fourth road game out of five, the most recent a 38-28 victory at Utah a week ago Thursday. Trojans have moved back up to No. 11 in the AP poll after a 21-14 loss at Stanford on Sept. 15. USC still harbors hopes of a Pac-12 title, if not a national title, but can't afford another stumble. Washington is concluding a tough first half of the schedule in which it has played four teams ranked in the top 11.
Key matchup: USC's passing game versus UW's secondary. Washington ranks second in the Pac-12 in pass defense, allowing 173.8 yards per game. But the Huskies will get a severe test against USC led by quarterback Matt Barkley, who is tied for the lead in the Pac-12 in TD passes with 15, and standout receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods (a combined 83 catches). UW will depend on senior cornerback Desmond Trufant, but will need other players in the secondary to step up.
What to expect: USC recommitted to its rushing attack after the Stanford loss. Expect the Trojans to attempt to establish that to open up the passing game. Washington shut down Stanford's rushing attack in the upset of the Cardinal but will get a greater challenge from the more diverse Trojans. Offensively, UW needs to get QB Keith Price back on track. Huskies might take some deep shots early to try to get passing game going.
Notes: USC has a 49-28-4 lead in the all-time series. But the series is 9-9-1 in the past 19 meetings, with UW winning two of three since Steve Sarkisian became coach in 2009. And many recent games have been close, with four games since 2006 decided by six points or less. ... Sarkisian was an assistant at USC from 2001-03 and again from 2005-08 before coming to UW. There, he worked alongside USC coach Lane Kiffin for five years. ... There are two Washington players on the USC roster — true freshmen OL Zach Banner (Lakes) and walk-on kicker Alex Wood (Mercer Island). Banner, one of the more highly touted players in the state last year, is redshirting this season but expected to be part of the travel roster and make the trip. ... After linebacker Cory Littleton saw his first action last week, UW has played 10 true freshmen this season. ... The game will be televised nationally by FOX with the announcing team of Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Julia Alexandria.
Upset brewing? Huskies are certainly battled-tested, having already played three teams ranked in the top 10, including a win over then No. 8 Stanford in its last home game. Washington has won 10 of its past 11 home games, and two of three games against USC under Sarkisian. So the Huskies should be in their comfort zone being an underdog at home against the Trojans.
Injuries: Neither school releases injuries. But among those known out for UW are RB Jesse Callier (knee), DE Hau'oli Jamora (knee), RB Deontae Cooper (knee), WR James Johnson (wrist), OL Erik Kohler (knee), OL Colin Tanigawa (knee) and DL Lawrence Lagafuaina (leg). OT Ben Riva, who has been out since breaking a forearm against San Diego State, was listed again on the depth chart this week and could be back. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins left the Oregon game with an ankle/foot injury but is listed as the starting tight end on UW's depth chart. For USC, TE Randall Telfer (ankle) and TB Curtis McNeal (concussion) left the Utah game with injuries and their status for this week is unclear. USC also has a few players known out for the season, including DE Devon Kennard, a returning starter who was injured before the season.
Prediction: Washington 24, USC 21.