USC vs Washington: Trojans Look To Define The 2016 Season
Saturday night’s match up of USC vs Washington is all about defining the 2016 season, with the chance to continue the road towards success.
In college football, each season is filled with defining moments, the type which can quickly derail a team’s season while simultaneously resurrecting another’s.
When the No. 20 USC Trojans square off against the Washington Huskies, currently the No. 4 team in the nation, two of the hottest teams in the Pac-12 will collide in a match up that will go a long way towards deciding whether or not the men of Troy will have an opportunity to repeat as Pac-12 South champions, while dashing the College Football Playoff hopes of the undefeated Huskies.
Jake Browning, who has thrown 34 touchdowns to just three interceptions, spearheads the high-powered Husky offense, which happens to be the most prolific offense in the FBS.
Over the course of the Huskies’ current unbeaten streak, which spans back to last November they the nation in scoring, turnover margin, and average scoring margin. At 48.3 points per game, the Huskies are on pace to shatter the single-season scoring record of the 1991 co-national champion team by more than a touchdown.
Washington fields an offense so prolific, its top two receiving targets, John Ross lll and Dante Pettis have already combined for a staggering 25 touchdowns. Meanwhile, ten Washington players have caught at least one touchdown pass this year.
Sophomore running back Myles Gaskin keeps defenses honest as he paces the Husky rushing attack to the tune of 105 yards per game, creating the perfect one-two punch for the fourth-ranked Huskies.
But the Trojans may be the only team in the Pac-12 that can match up across the board with Washington.
Junior cornerback Adoree` Jackson, a Thorpe Award semifinalist for the Men of Troy, will likely make his presence felt defensively, shadowing the explosive Ross, leaving Biggie Marshall free to match up with Pettis. Those two defenders leave defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast free to employ a bevy of options in attacking the Washington offense.
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Not to be outdone, the most efficient freshman quarterback in the nation, ranked fourth nationally in quarterback rating, happens to reside in the Land of Troy. Sam Darnold pilots a resilient Trojan team, looking to tack on its sixth consecutive victory after getting off to a slow start the first month if the college football season.
With 20 touchdowns and four interceptions on the year, Darnold leads a Trojan offense unlike any that have come before it. Dfenses now have to account for the threat of quarterback who possesses the uncanny ability to extend plays with his feet, eyes scanning the field for an open receiver.
After missing time due to injury, running backs Justin Davis, the Trojans starting tailback, and Aca’Cedric Ware both return to the lineup, though in recent weeks the Trojan run game hasn’t missed a beat, as Ronald Jones ll has 394 yards and five touchdowns over the last two weeks, providing balance to an offense that appears to get better each week.
After losing to an upstart Washington Husky team at home in 2015, the Trojans seek to return the favor.