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Three things to watch as Washington State welcome the USC Trojans

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PULLMAN, WA - SEPTEMBER 11: Washington State wide receiver De’Zhaun Stribling (88) celebrates with running back Deon McIntosh (3) after a touchdown run in the first half of a non-conference matchup between the Portland State Vikings and the Washington State Cougars on September 11, 2021, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA. Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Welcome to week 3 of the 2021 version of Washington State football. The Cougs face their toughest test today, as the USC Trojans are in town for a mid-day matchup. USC, as you know, has had either a rough week or a great week, depending on your point of view. The school finally got Clay Helton off his annual hot seat by firing him after last week’s curious loss to Stanford. Either this is a team in turmoil, or a team doing what it needed to do to get back on track.

A trip to Pullman might be a fresh start for the Trojans. Let’s check in on how that trip started:

Not great!

A win today for WSU would give Nick Rolovich his first signature win as the head man. It’s going to be raining throughout the game. Plan accordingly.

Three Things to Watch

  1. Tempo: Once WSU picked up the pace last week against Portland State, the offense starting humming and WSU quarterback Jayden de Laura had his best outing of his young career. Will WSU use the same strategy against USC, a team with a MUCH better defense than Portland State?
  2. The secondary: The depth of this unit is being tested thanks to the injury bug. Jaylen Watson, perhaps WSU’s best corner and a former USC signee, was in an arm sling last weekend after exiting the game. Armani Marsh and Armauni Archie were both out last week at the nickel position. Getting any of them back would be a good thing, as WSU is rotating a lot of guys back there. USC’s air raid offense will test these guys big time. Cross your fingers.
  3. The @InsideUSC Twitter account: The man who runs this account is Scott Wolf, a former newspaper reporter. Rarely do you come across an account as negative as this one.....and it’s hilarious. No matter what USC does, Wolf finds a way to dump all over it, including when the Trojans were in the Elite Eight this past spring. Perhaps firing Clay Helton has changed Wolf’s mood, as Helton and his higher ups were the main targets of Wolf’s ire. Keep an eye on this account during today’s game. Even if USC is up big, he’ll find something to criticize.

Links

Updates: Washington State hosts USC for interim head coach Donte Williams' first game | The Spokesman-Review
Follow along as the Cougars look to take advantage of a change in USC leadership, and defeat Trojans for third time in six meetings at 12:30 p.m. on FOX.

Washington State, seeking a narrative-changing win, hosts a USC team under new management | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – For Nick Rolovich, this is a new one.

The pick: Why USC will beat Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – If you asked Washington State fans two weeks ago, they’d probably have said no chance.

Two-minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State against USC | The Spokesman-Review
Don’t take your eyes off ...

Washington State basketball player Noah Williams facing potential misdemeanor charges after alleged altercation at bar | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – Washington State men’s basketball player Noah Williams is potentially facing two fourth-degree assault charges and two misdemeanors after an alleged altercation with a bouncer at a Pullman bar Thursday night.

Men's Golf Seeks Another Strong Campaign in 2021-22 - Washington State University Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State men's golf team looks to build off a strong spring campaign a season ago, as the Cougars prepare for year six under the direction

The future looks bright for Cougar Soccer - Washington State University Athletics
The Cougars have talented youth coming of age led by a trio of big time freshmen.

Williams and the Cougs roll past UCSB - Washington State University Athletics
WSU netted its fourth-straight sweep to begin play at the Thunderdome Classic.