(Sports Network) - The USC Trojans conclude a three-game homestand this weekend, as they entertain the Arizona State Sun Devils in Pac-10 action at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Trojans limp into their finale of the homestand, as they have dropped three of their past four outings overall. Two of those losses have come at home, including a 53-32 defeat to top-ranked Oregon this past weekend. USC is now under .500 in Pac-10 play, as the program is clearly on the decline.
ASU meanwhile, got back into the win column with a 42-0 blanking of Washington State over the weekend. It was the team's first shutout since a 31-0 triumph of Washington State in 2008, as the Sun Devils rebounded nicely from a 50-17 whipping at California the prior week.
As for the all-time series, USC holds a 17-9 lead over ASU and the Trojans have won each of the past 10 meetings, including a 14-9 decision last season.
QB Steven Threet threw for 300 yards and three TDs, as the Sun Devils rolled past WSU over the weekend. Street completed 26-of-32 tosses and had no picks, which was surprising considering he had thrown 13 heading into the game. The ground game chipped in with 118 yards and three more TDs against WSU, and ASU has had some success running the ball, averaging 139.0 ypg for the season. Deantre Lewis leads the way with 461 yards, while Cameron Marshall adds 429 yards and a team-high seven TDs. Both players scored last weekend and the duo combined for 83 yards on 18 carries. Marshall also tallied his first receiving TD in the victory.
ASU's defense turned in a big performance after being gashed by Cal, as the unit kept WSU to just 264 total yards in a shutout effort. The Sun Devils surrendered just eight rushing yards, while recording five sacks and three takeaways. It was clearly a big effort from a defense that had just eight takeaways and nine sacks to its credit through the first seven outings. Junior Onyeali had three of the team's sacks and a pair of forced fumbles last weekend, while Vontaze Burfict logged five stops and a forced fumble. Burfict has clearly been the team's best tackler on the season, as his 59 stops are 24 more than the next closest player on the roster.
The Trojans were able to move the ball, gaining 377 total yards, but just weren't able to keep up with Oregon in a 53-32 loss last weekend. Three turnovers from QB Matt Barkley didn't help matters either, though he did throw for 264 yards and a TD. Barkley has been better then he showed last weekend and on the season he has completed 63.1 percent of his pass attempts, with 21 TDs against just six INTs. Ronald Johnson has been his primary target with 43 catches for 529 yards and eight TDs, while Robert Woods has also been effective with 574 receiving yards and six scores. Last weekend, the duo totaled 11 receptions for 124 yards and a score. As for the ground attack, USC is churning out a healthy 200.5 ypg behind a 5.6 yard per carry average. Allen Bradford is averaging 7.5 yards per carry for a team-best 596 rushing yards, while Marc Tyler adds 507 yards and a club-best eight TDs.
USC has had some issues on defense this season and the unit offered little resistance against Oregon's powerful attack last weekend. Oregon dialed up 599 yards of total offense and scored seven TDs. USC was gashed for 311 yards on the ground and the defense is now surrendering 151.4 rushing ypg. The pass defense has been even worse, as the Trojans are giving up 275.8 ypg. T.J. McDonald has done all that he can to give the defense a shot and he has 55 stops and a team-high three INTs on the year.
The Trojans have struggled with consistency, but they are still the better of the two teams here. Expect them to put some points on the scoreboard and continue their dominance of the Sun Devils.