No. 21 USC (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) at Arizona State (4-3, 3-1), Saturday, 10:45 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: USC by 3 ½.
Series record: USC leads 21-12.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The winner will have a firm grip on the Pac-12 South lead as the season winds toward the final month. Arizona State is surging behind a massive turnaround by its defense, while USC is coming off a 49-14 trouncing at the hands of No. 9 Notre Dame.
USC QB Sam Darnold against Arizona State’s defense. The Sun Devils couldn’t stop anyone early in the season and now no one can do much of anything against them. Arizona State shut down Washington and Utah in consecutive weeks, and faces another tough challenge against Darnold, who has thrown for nearly 2,300 yards and 17 TDs. Arizona State has not allowed 200 yards passing in three straight games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
USC: LB Cameron Smith. The junior always seems to be around the ball and leads the Trojans with 72 tackles, including eight for loss. He will be a key to slowing Arizona State’s quick-hitting offense.
Arizona State: WR N’Keal Harry. At 6-foot-4, 216 pounds, the Sun Devils’ junior is one of the nation’s toughest receivers to bring down. Harry leads Arizona State with 51 catches and 627 yards, including 292 yards after the catch.
FACTS & FIGURES
USC won the last meeting 41-20 in Los Angeles a year ago behind Darnold’s 352 yards and three TDs passing. … Arizona State is 12th nationally in time of possession at 33:08 minutes per game. … USC has had 11 starters miss games this season, including two who are out for the season (PK Michael Brown and G Viane Talamaivao). … Arizona State’s D.J. Calhoun is one of three inside LBs nationally to not miss a tackle this season and has 61 tackles.
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