Arizona Wildcats (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. USC Trojans (7-2 SU, 2-7 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 10:45PM EDT
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ARIZ +7/USC -7
Over/Under Total: 73
The Arizona Wildcats come to the Coliseum in LA on Saturday to face the USC Trojans in a big Pac-12 battle. These are the only teams left in the Pac-12 South division with just one conference loss and whoever wins this game would have a leg up in winning the division and getting to the conference title game. Arizona has quietly been making headway, but their 58-37 win over Washington State has forced people to take notice. They look for another big conference win over USC this Saturday. The Trojans were able to score a big road win on Saturday, beating Arizona State, 48-17. They look ready to finish the season strongly and this would be a good follow-up to the big win last week. Who can get it done at the Coliseum?
Southern Cal has been through a lot this season. After losing to Washington State, followed by a 1-point win over Utah and a massive loss to Notre Dame, it looked like the shine was off. Arizona State had been on a nice roll and for the Trojans to march into town and pin a 48-17 loss on them means a lot and gives the Trojans a new lease on life after it looked like they had really hit a wall. After all the disappointment, a 1-7 record against the spread, and the personnel losses, the Trojans can still make a lot of big things happen this season if they stay on the winning track.
Some of the Trojans big contributors on offense looked to have snapped out of their funk on Saturday. QB Sam Darnold didnt throw any picks with three touchdown throws. He connected well with Tyler Vaughns who had 126 yards and two touchdowns. Deontay Burnett had a TD reception, his eighth of the season. Giving the Trojans a real boost was the performance of Ronald Jones, II., who ran for an immense 216 yards with two touchdowns, one for 67 yards. Freshman RB Vavae Malipai added some nice runs on the day. They put up over 600 yards of offense against an ASU defense that had given up just 7 points to Washington a few weeks ago.
Coming off a game where they were run over by the Notre Dame, the Trojans defense was more on-point last week, giving up 17 to ASU. The Southern Cal D didnt give the Sun Devils a chance to work their way into the game. And in recent weeks, the playmaking from this group had dissipated. It was in full-force against Arizona State. The pass-rush was huge, with LB Ucheena Nwosu and DT Rasheem Green each registering three sacks. Safety Ykili Ross took an interception back to the house, with other members of the secondary playing well, like Marvell Tell, Chris Hawkins, and others.
With Arizona starting the season at 2-2 with wins over Northern Arizona and UTEP and losses to Houston and Utah, it looked like another typical season was going to unfold for the Wildcats. But with four straight wins in-conference, including the 21-point victory over Washington State on Saturday, they are now making a push for their division. Key among the reasons is the addition of Khalil Tate, who came in at QB with Brandon Dawkins injured. He has won the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week four straight times. One thing to keep in mind is that on the road, they barely beat Colorado and needed overtime to beat Cal. They are definitely better at home.
Tate has really been incredible. Efficient aerially, he had 275 yards through the air on Saturday against the Cougars. Really setting him apart is what he is doing with his legs. In his last four games, he has run for an incredible 840 yards with 8 scores. It makes you wonder what the sophomores numbers would look like if he had started every game. While putting up eye-popping numbers, hes also getting those around him to shine. In the big win against the Cougars, JJ Taylor had some nice plays on the ground with 152 yards and two touchdowns. Zach Green also ran one in. Shun Brown caught a TD pass, with Jamie Nunley going for 116 yards receiving with just two catches, one for a touchdown. Since Tate took over, the Wildcats have scored a combined 195 points in four games.
With the Arizona offense going bonkers, it has commanded most of the attention. But the defense has been pretty leaky. Opposing aerial attacks have really beat up on this unit this season and USC will be looking for that to continue. After WSUs Luke Falk was pulled with 93 yards, his back-up came in and threw for 509 yards. They at least made plays, picking off four passes, with LB Colin Schooler taking one back for a TD. Theyre second in the nation in picks, though one of the most-porous groups. Arizona has done well to get to this spot, but if they fall short, this side of the ball will be the reason.
A lot has changed since the Trojans crushed the Wildcats in the desert last season, 48-14, with Sam Darnold throwing five touchdowns. Tate ran for a touchdown, but is a different player now. USC scoring the big road win over ASU on Saturday seemed to signal a fire being lit underneath a team that had underachieved this season to a large degree. The Trojans have more overall dimensions on both sides of the ball, with Arizona being slightly diminished on the road. I picture Southern Cal getting some late separation and notching the big win and cover at home this Saturday.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the USC Trojans minus 7 points. – Not all sportsbooks are created equal! Many are fly by night, poorly run and your loot is actually at risk. End that problem today by signing up at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted sportsbooks! Online for over 15 years, your credit card will work and you’ll also receive a 50% bonus up to $250 FREE at Bovada Sportsbook!