#19 Southern California Trojans at Arizona State Sun Devils
Sun Devil Stadium – Tempe, Arizona
Saturday, September 26, 2015, 10:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: USC -5 1/2
Current Line: USC -4
Opening Total: 63
Current Total: 60 1/2
Opening Money Line: USC -235 / Arizona +195
Current Money Line: USC -185 / Arizona +165
Both the Arizona State Sun Devils and Southern California Trojans are 2-1 this season as they renew their rivalry Saturday night in Tempe. USC leads the series 18-12 including 8-7 in Tempe. ASU has won 3 of the last 4 including 38-34 last year in Los Angeles.
USC is coached by Steve Sarskisan. The Trojans opened the season with blowout wins at home over Sun Belt teams Arkansas State 55-6 and Idaho 59-9. Last week, USC opened Pac 12 play with a 41-31 loss at home to Stanford. USC led 21-10 early in the second quarter, but Stanford would rally to take a 38-28 lead in the fourth quarter. USC kicked a field goal but a Stanford field goal with just over 2 minutes to go iced the game for the Cardinal. The Trojans were 9.5 point favorites against the Cardinal and the total was 51. USC is 2-1 ATS and the total is 2-1 this season.
Arizona State is coached by Todd Graham. After a season opening loss to Texas A&M 38-17 in Houston, ASU has won two straight home games over Cal Poly 35-21 and last week against New Mexico 34-10. The Sun Devils jumped out to a 17-0 lead against New Mexico and never looked back. ASU was a 25 point favorite against New Mexico and the total was 63.5. The Sun Devils are 0-3 ATS and all three games have gone under the total.
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USC is outscoring teams 48-19 this season. The Trojans are #11 in scoring and #37 in points allowed nationally. USC averages 558 total yards including 350 passing and 208 rushing yards. The Trojans are #13 in both passing and total offense. On defense, Southern Cal is allowing 395 total yards including 237 passing and 158 rushing yards. The Trojans have forced 4 turnovers and haven’t turned the ball over yet. USC averages 60 penalty yards per game and opponents average 50. The Trojans are 10/30 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 20/54. Southern Cal has forced 5 sacks and allowed 6 this season. The Trojans are 14/15 scoring in the red zone with 12 touchdowns and opponents are 9/10 with 7 touchdowns. USC has one defensive touchdown this season.
Quarterback Cody Kessler has completed 78.7% of his passes for 922 yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Tre Madden is probable with a knee injury. He has 28 carries for 206 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. Ronald Jones II has 20 carries for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 2 catches. Justin Davis has 13 carries for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 3 catches.
Receiver Juju Smith-Schuster has 22 catches for 434 yards and 4 touchdowns. Issac Whitney has 5 catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Darreus Rogers has 7 catches for 80 yards. Steven Mitchell, Jr. has 9 catches for 60 yards and 3 touchdowns. Adoree’ Jackson and Jalen Greene will also get some targets.
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Arizona State is outscoring teams 29-23. The Sun Devils average 424 yards per game including 266 passing and 157 rushing yards. ASU is #91 in rushing nationally. On defense, Arizona State is allowing 350 total yards including 135 passing and 215 rushing yards. The Sun Devils are #9 in pass defense nationally but #107 in rush defense. ASU has forced 4 turnovers but has 5 of their own. The Sun Devils average 38 penalty yards per game and opponents average 47. ASU is 20/53 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 28/63. Arizona State has 7 sacks but has allowed 11 this season. The Sun Devils are 12/14 scoring in the red zone and 9 touchdowns, and opponents are 7/9 with 5 touchdowns. ASU has allowed a punt return for a touchdown.
Quarterback Mike Bercovici has completed 61.9% of his passes for 799 yards with 7 touchdowns and an interception, along with 2 rushing touchdowns. Running back Demario Richard has 56 carries for 298 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 8 catches for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running backs Gump Hayes and Kalen Ballage are both probable Saturday.
Receiver Devin Lucien has 13 catches for 147 yards. He is probable with a leg injury. D.J. Foster has 16 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown, along with 20 carries for 97 yards. Kody Kohl and Tim White each have two touchdown catches. Receiver Jalen Harvey and tight end Dan Vear are both questionable.
USC is 5-0 ATS after allowing 40 points or more, 5-1 after an ATS loss, 25-9 after a straight up loss, 5-14 in road games, 1-4 in Pac 12 games, against teams with losing records, and after allowing more than 450 total yards, and 2-9 against teams with winning home records. Four of the last five games in this series have gone over the total, and the over is 6-2 in Tempe between the teams.
Arizona State is 4-1 ATS after passing for more than 280 yards and allowing less than 20 points, 1-4 after a straight up win and against teams with winning records 1-5 after a straight up win by 20 points or more, 0-5 in September and overall and 0-4 on grass. The Sun Devils have covered six of the last seven games against the Trojans, including 4-1 in Tempe.
Both teams teams have blowout wins over cupcakes and were beaten by double digits against the only good team they have played. Arizona State has struggled to score and in the running game. I think USC is a better team but it is hard to know what to make of them either. I like the Trojans to win a close low scoring game on the road.