Game coverage from around SBN: Here
Time: 7:15 p.m. PDT
The place: Los Angeles Coliseum
Radio: Find your local station here.
The line: USC -45
Last meeting: The last time these two teams occupied one football field at the same time, USC won 69-0. However, I hesitate to call it a "meeting," since only one of them was actually trying to win the game.
When the Cougs have the ball ...
|Pos.||Name (# = Redshirt)||Pos.||Name (* = Redshirt)|
|X||Daniel Blackledge (6-0, 175, Jr.)||RE|| |
|F||Jeffrey Solomon (6-5, 174, #Jr.)||NT|| Christian Tupou (6-2, 285, Jr.) |
|LT|| ||DT|| |
|LG||Steven Ayers (6-4, 315, #So.)||DE |
|C||Kenny Alfred (6-2, 300, #Sr.)||SLB|| |
|RT||Micah Hannam (6-4, 284, #Jr.)||WLB|| |
|TE||Tony Thompson (6-2, 241, #Sr.)||CB|| |
|Z||Jared Karstetter (6-4, 203, So.)||FS || |
|QB||Marshall Lobbestael (6-3, 214, #So.)||SS|| |
When USC has the ball ...
|Pos.||Name||Pos.||Name (# = Redshirt)|
|SE|| David Ausberry (6-4, 235, Jr.*) ||LE|| Dan Spitz (6-6, 268, #Fr.) |
|LT||Charles Brown (6-6, 285, Sr.*)||DT||Bernard Wolfgramm (6-3, 288, #Jr.)|
|LG||Jeff Byers (6-3, 290, Sr.*)||DT|
|C||Kristofer O’Dowd (6-5, 300, Jr.)||RE||Travis Long (6-4, 247, Fr.)|
|RG||Alex Parsons (6-4, 300, Sr.)||SAM||Andy Mattingly (6-4, 255, Sr.)|
|RT|| ||MIKE||Alex Hoffman-Ellis (6-1, 233, #So.)|
|TE||Anthony McCoy (6-5, 250, Sr.)||WILL||Jason Stripling (5-11, 225, #Sr.)|
|FL||LCB||Brandon Jones (5-9, 178, #Jr.)|
|QB||Matt Barkley (6-2, 230, Fr.)||SS||Xavier Hicks, Jr. (6-0, 211, #Sr.)|
|FB||FS||Chima Nwachukwu (5-11, 201, Jr.)|
|TB||Joe McKnight (6-0, 190, Jr.)||RCB||Daniel Simmons (5-10, 188, #Fr.)|
Special Teams ...
|Pos.||Name (# = Redshirt)||Pos.||Name|
|K||Nico Grasu (6-0, 221, Jr.)||K|
|P||Reid Forrest (6-2, 193, #Jr.)||P|
the Game Not Getting Embarrassed (snark alert!)
1. Win the turnover battle. We're going to have a tough enough time stopping the USC offense. If we turn the ball over, this will be a bloodbath on the order of what happened against Oregon last year. And while the chances of USC duplicating what happened last week in Seattle as far as giving the ball away are slim -- you can bet it was a point of emphasis this week -- there obviously is some support for the idea that a team that aggressively goes after the ball against USC can get them to cough it up. If they don't hang onto the ball, they can't score, right?
2. Get some first downs via the run. If we're going to be respectable, we've got to put together at least a handful of clock-eating drives -- preferably ones that end in at least three points. This is probably pretty unrealistic, as USC run defense is perhaps the best in the nation. But this is a key to not getting embarrassed, and since we're probably not going to avoid getting embarrassed ... well, you get the picture.
3. Lobbestael completes ~60 percent of his passes. Again, probably wishful thinking. But this would help keep the clock from stopping too much and might actually lead to some points.
4. Stay within 10 yards of USC's receivers. USC's QBs have proven they're not Palmer/Leinart/Booty/Sanchez yet. If we can stay even remotely near their receivers, there might be a chance they can't complete a high percentage of passes. Or, at the very least, if they do complete their passes, we might be able to actually make a tackle. (Assuming we don't just try to knock them down with our shoulders like we did last year.)
The bottom line is that this isn't going to be pretty, so we just need to see some positives. Anything within four touchdowns when the clock hits zero -- especially if we're able to score 13-21 points -- would be considered a smashing success in my mind.
Oh, and let's get out of this without any more season-ending injuries.