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USC vs. Arizona State preview: Defense, discipline key for Trojans to snap losing streak

The Trojans' defense is looking for answers against the Sun Devils this week after being torched by Oregon.

Robert Laberge

USC has dropped two games in a row and now could be facing a scenario where they don't even reach the Pac-12 championship game. It's tough to look anywhere else than the Trojans defense for why the team has struggled so much in 2012; they are giving up an average of 25 points a game, and they've surrendered 99 to Arizona and Oregon the past two weeks.

Conquest Chronicles, which is SB Nation's fine USC blog, previewed this weekend's game with the Arizona St. Sun Devils. One of their main keys to the game focused on limiting ASU's spread attack on offense.

For the third straight week, Monte Kiffin's defensive unit will face a team that employs a spread offense. Taylor Kelly, a dual-threat quarterback, has thrown for 2,161 yards and 20 touchdowns so far this season and leads a Sun Devils offense tied for second in scoring offense (37 points/game) in Pac-12 play and fifth in total offense (457.8 yards/game). As has been noted, the most glaring issue in the Trojans' last two losses has been the play of the defense, which surrendered 1218 yards and 14 touchdowns combined against Arizona and Oregon.

After limiting their penalties against Oregon, Conquest Chronicles would also like to see the Trojans play another clean game. The Sun Devils have been amongst the least-penalized teams in the nation this season and seldom beat themselves, meaning USC will need to control their emotions in what should be an amped Memorial Coliseum.

Kickoff from Los Angeles is set for noon on Saturday.