Pac 12 College Football Picks: #5 USC Trojans at #16 Washington State Cougars

#5 Southern California Trojans at #16 Washington State Cougars
Friday, September 29, 2017, 10:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Martin Stadium – Pullman, Washington
Opening Line: USC -4 1/2
Current Line: USC -3 1/2
Opening Total: 64 1/2
Current Total: 65
Opening Money Line: USC -185 / Washington State +160
Current Money Line: USC -175 / Washington State +155

Washington State hosts USC Friday night in battle of undefeated Pac 12 teams.

Both the USC Trojans and Washington State Cougars are 4-0 as they meet Friday night in Pullman in  a key Pac 12 battle. The Trojans are 2-0 in the Pac 12 South and the Cougars are 1-0 in the North. USC leads the series against 59-9-4 including 14-3-2 in Pullman. The Trojans won 44-17 in 2014 in Pullman against the Cougars in the last meeting.

USC is coached by Clay Helton. The Trojans have home wins over Western Michigan 49-31, Stanford 42-24 and Texas 27-24, plus a road win last week at California 30-20. Southern California is 1-3 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season. The Trojans were 16.5 point favorites against Cal last week and the total was 63.5.

Washington State is coached by Mike Leach. The Cougars have home wins over Montana State 31-0, Boise State 47-44 in triple overtime, Oregon State 52-23 and last week against Nevada 45-7. WSU is 2-2 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season. The Cougars were 28.5 point favorites against Nevada and the total was 65.5.

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USC is outscoring teams 37-25 this season. The Trojans are #38 in scoring. Southern Cal averages 492 yards per game on offense including 306 passing yards and 186 rushing yards. The Trojans are #22 in total offense and #23 in passing nationally. On defense, USC allows 370 total yards including 217 passing and 154 rushing yards per game. USC is +3 in turnovers with 11 takeaways. The Trojans average 72 penalty yards and opponents average 47 per game. USC is 29/61 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 27/71. USC has forced 11 sacks and allowed 7 this season. The Trojans are 14/17 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns and opponents are 12/16 with 8 touchdowns.

Quarterback Sam Darnold has completed 67.1% of his passes for 1,225 yards with 9 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, plus a rushing touchdown.

Running back Ronald Jones II has 59 carries for 322 yards with 5 touchdowns, plus 3 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a thigh injury. Stephen Carr has 47 carries for 298 yards and 3 touchdowns and 13 catches for 130 yards.  Aca’Cedric Ware and Vavae Malepeai will also get some carries.

Receiver  Deontay Burnett has 33 catches for 462 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Steven Mitchell, Jr has 14 catches for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with a groin injury. Tyler Petite has 12 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown.  Jalen Greene has 6 catches for 68 yards.  Tyler Vaughns has 8 catches for 65 yards. Eight defensive players are on the injury report.

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Washington State is outscoring teams 44-19 this season. The Cougars are #12 in scoring and #32 in points allowed nationally. Washington State averages 504 total yards per game including 433 passing and 72 rushing yards. The Cougars are #15 in total offense, #3 in passing but #127 in rushing nationally. On defense, WSU allows 263 total yards per game including 142 passing and 121 rushing yards. The Cougars are #12 against the pass and #11 in total defense. Washington State is +6 in turnovers with 10 takeaways. The Cougars average 48 penalty yards per game and opponents average 48 per game. WSU is 37/65 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 20/60. The Cougars have forced 15 sacks and allowed 14 this season. Washington State is 19/21 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns and opponents are 9/11 with 6 touchdowns. The Cougars have scored three defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Luke Falk has completed 76.9% of his passes for 1,378 yards with 14 touchdowns and an interception. Back-up Tyler Hilinski has thrown for 352 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Running back Jamal Morrow has 28 carries for 193 yards and a touchdown, plus 13 catches for 186 yards and 3 touchdowns. James Williams has 37 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown, plus 37 catches for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Gerald Wicks has 11 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown, plus 8 catches for 45 yards.

Receiver Tavares Martin, Jr. has 26 catches for 390 yards and 6 touchdowns. Isaiah Johnson-Mack has 24 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown. Renard Bell has 14 catches for 228 yards. Kyle Sweet has 15 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. C.J. Dimry has 6 catches for 99 yards. Jamire Calvin has 12 catches for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns.

USC is 6-1 ATS in Pac 12 games, 7-3 after a straight up win, 7-16 against teams with winning home records, 3-8 in road games, 1-4 overall and on fieldturf, and 1-5 in September. The road team has covered the last five games in this series. The Trojans are 7-3 ATS against the Cougars including 4-1 in Pullman. The Trojans were favored in each of the last 10 contests in the series.

Washington State is 9-2 ATS after scoring 40 points or more, 12-3 after a cover, 17-7 after passing for 280 yards or more, 13-6 in Pac 12 games, 2-5 overall and after allowing 20 points or less, 2-6 after allowing less than 100 yards, 1-5 against teams with winning road records, 0-4 in Friday games, 0-5 against teams with winning records and after gaining 450 yards or more. The over is 7-1 in the last eight games in Pullman in this series.

USC has had close calls against Western Michigan, Texas and California but they have managed to escape. This crowd in Pullman should be frenzied on a Friday night. This should be a high scoring game but I like the Trojans to come out on top in a close game.

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