In an early-season matchup of unbeatens and what might very well be a Pac-12 Championship Game preview, the 4-0 USC Trojans travel to Martin Stadium in Pullman to take on the 4-0 Washington State Cougars. The game features two of the premier passing quarterbacks in college football as Sam Darnold squares off against the underrated Luke Falk. Darnold was considered an early Heisman Trophy candidate but has been plagued by poor decision-making and has thrown seven interceptions to this point. Falk, on the other hand, is completing 77% of his passes with a 14-1 TD/Int ratio. The opening number was USC -4 and 65. It’s now USC -3.5 and the total down a half tick to 64 1/2. Weather will not be an issue with the forecast for near perfect conditions for the 10:30 PM EST kickoff on ESPN.
USC has been up and down in the early going but at the end of the day are still 4-0 and on schedule to probably meet Washington for the Pac-12 championship and a likely spot in the FBS playoffs. The biggest question about this game is what USC team is going to show up ??? Will it be the team that was life and death to beat Western Michigan, Texas, and Cal or the team that was close to perfect in its demolition of Stanford Darnold is (98-146, 67%, 9-7) in four games. Stephen Carr (48-298, 6.3, 3 TDs) and Ronald Jones II (59-322, 5TDs) are the Trojans latest set of quality backs. Deontay Burnett is Darnold’s “look to” guy with 33 catches for 452 yards and five scores. The Trojan defense is middle of the FBS but has been especially suspect against the run, allowing better than 154 (No.74) yards per game overland.
Mike Leach has the Cougars humming going this showdown. The Coogs averted an early loss which has plagued them in the past and routinely dispatched four opponents in Montana State, Boise State, Oregon State and Nevada and has his team sky high for this nationally televised showdown. Falk is completing an amazing 77.6% of his passes to 11 players with five or more catches, seven with double-digits led by RB Jame Williams (37, 266, 7.2) and Tavares Martin (26, 390, 6 TDs). Jamal Morrow (28-193, 6.9, TD) is the feature back and splits time with Williams. The jury is still out on the nation’s No.12 ranked defense which hasn’t faced anything close to what they get tonight with USC.
The Trojans have dominated the series of late winning 16 of the last 20 (12-8 ATS) and are 9-1 (7-3 ATS) in their L10 trips to Pullman. Wazzou’s last win in the series was a 10-7 decision at the Coliseum in 2013. The Trojans are just 3-9 ATS in their L12 road games while Wazzou in 9-3 in their L12 as a dog. USC is also on a 16-8 under run as a favorite and a 6-0 under run as road favorite. The Coogs are 7-4 over in their L11 as a dog and 5-1