USC Trojans (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. Arizona Wildcats (2-4 SU, 1-5 ATS)
NCAAF Week 7
When/Time:October 15, 3:30 PM ET
Where: Arizona Stadium Tucson, AZ
by Jason Green, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: USC -7.5
Over/Under Total: 61.5
The Trojans got off to a terrible start to the season losing 3 of their first 4 games, but they have won 2 straight and beat a ranked Colorado team in their last game. All of their losses have come facing teams in the top 25 and they are back in the Pac 12 South race after getting to .500 in conference play with their last win.
Arizona has had a season to forget so far, but they can turn that around with a win over the Trojans this Saturday. They have lost 3 in a row, are 0-3 in Pac 12 play, and their only wins have come against the less than powerhouse programs of Grambling State and Hawaii. They have a solid rushing attack, but their D has killed them this season giving up an average of 30.5 ppg, which only ranks 88th in the nation. In their 3 game losing streak they have given up an average of 38.7 ppg.
USC has dominated Arizona in the last few decades winning 30 of the last 38 games facing them and have won in their last 3 meetings.
In their 21-17 win over Colorado it should not have been that close with USC out-gaining Colorado 539 yards to 371 yards, but they committed 4 turnovers. The star of the game, and almost the goat, was QB Sam Donald, who passed for 358 yards with 3 TD and 1 INT. However, he also fumbled 3 times losing the rock twice. JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of the best WR’s in the nation and he leads a loaded Trojans’ WR corps. He and Donald should be licking their chops, as they will face off against Arizona’s pass defense that only ranks 102nd in the nation.
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The USC RB duo of Justin Davis and Ronald Jones II helped Donald out facing Colorado, as they combined for 139 rushing yards and each averaged over 5.5 yards per carry. Arizona has also struggled against the run this season ranking 89th in run defense and in their 36-23 loss to Utah in their last game they gave up 210 yards on the ground.
With the defensive issues that the Wildcats have it is up the offense to bail them out. They have been hit hard by the injury bug this season and with starting QB Anu Solomon out Brandon Dawkins and freshman Khalil Tate may share time under center like in the Utah loss. In that game the Wildcats did have 348 passing yards, but Dawkins was picked off twice. Trey Griffey, Samajie Grant, and Shun Brown each had over 85 receiving yards and for Zona to pull the upset they have to have solid numbers and whoever is under center has to find them and not players in a USC uniform.
The Wildcats’ strength on offense is running the ball, which they could not do against Utah. Dawkins is the leading rusher while 2nd leading rusher Nick Wilson is banged up and questionable for this game and 3rd leading rusher J.J. Taylor is out. Still, the Wildcats have to run the ball not only to move the chains, but to keep their defense off the field.
USC ranks 50th in the nation defending the pass and 66th defending the run.
USC is only 7-21 ATS in their last 28 road games while Arizona is only 5-11 ATS in their last 16 home games. However, Arizona is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games facing USC.
One trend that will continue in this game is that the road team has covered the spread in 5 of the last 7 games between these teams. USC will cut down on their mistakes and light up the scoreboard against Arizona easily winning, covering the spread, and moving above .500 in conference play.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: USC -7.5
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