Trojans try to fend off upstart Sun Devils
Arizona State’s off to a 4-0 start for the first time since Dennis Erickson’s debut season in Tempe. Can the party continue tonight at the Coliseum?
The Sun Devils enter USC’s house at 8:30 p.m. ET, with oddsmakers still needing to be persuaded about the visitors. Online sports book BetDSI currently lists the Trojans as 10-point favorites. The over/under is 65.
Prior to the start of the year, ASU was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 South. Now, a quick-strike offense led by a dynamic tailback duo demands national attention. Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage both average more than 65 rushing yards per contest. Quarterback Manny Wilkins also chips in on the ground to go along with a 67.2 completion percentage.
In short, USC’s much-maligned defense has a stiff challenge ahead. Matters aren’t better on the other side of the ball for Clay Helton, either. Irrespective of the fact that they’re taking on the nation’s toughest schedule, the Trojans have failed to show any semblance of consistency at the key skill positions. Fortunately, Sam Darnold does seem to be finding his stride at the signal-caller spot. The freshman went 18 of 26 for 253 yards in last week’s defeat at the hands of Utah.
Perhaps Arizona State’s finest accomplishment to date relates to its red-zone prowess. The Sun Devils are 18-18 in such trips. Even though USC desperately needs a breakthrough here, we’re not sure if Helton’s crew can come close to protecting the house. Look for another barrage of points on the part of ASU.
SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: USC/ARIZONA STATE OVER 65 POINTS