Pac-12 Football: USC Trojans at Arizona State Sun Devils

No. 23 USC Trojans at Arizona State Sun Devils
Saturday, 9/24/11, 10:15 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Arizona State -3
Current Betting Line:  Arizona State -2.5
Opening Total:  53.5
Current Total:  54
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Matt Barkley USC Trojans Football
The USC Trojans take to the road for the first time during the 2011 campaign

USC is set to close out September in the desert and puts its 3-0 record on the line, traveling on the road for the first time during the 2011 campaign.  The Trojans are led by quarterback Matt Barkley, who has completed 80 of 116 passes for 892 yards, with nine touchdowns and a single interception.  “Going on the road is kind of like starting all over,” commented Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin.  The program holds an 18-9 edge in the all-time series with Arizona State, including a 9-5 mark when playing in Tempe.  USC is 11-17 ATS over the last two-plus seasons, including a 5-7 ATS mark when playing away from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Trojans have one of the more explosive play makers in the country with wide receiver Robert Woods.  He leads the nation with 11 receptions per game, catching at least eight passes in each of the first three contests.  USC’s offense is coming off its best game of the season, totaling 501 yards and Barkley threw for a school record-tying five touchdowns.  Defensively, the Trojans haven’t allowed more than 17 points in any of their first three games.

Arizona State suffered a 17-14 setback at Illinois last week to drop its first contest of the season.  The Sun Devils were unable to protect quarterback Brock Osweiler, as he was sacked six times and the team turned the ball over three times.  “The Illinois game, and I’ve looked at it three times now, there were just some goofy things that happened that wouldn’t normally happen,” commented Osweiler.  The program has focused all of its attention this week in snapping an 11-game losing streak to this week’s opponent.  Arizona State is 7-2 ATS when playing against a winning team.

The Sun Devils are led by head coach Dennis Erickson, but he’s tallied a 1-8 record against the USC football program during his career.  His only win came in 2000, when he was coaching Oregon State.  Arizona State has played 33 seasons in the Pac-10, which is now the Pac-12, posting a 12-19-2 mark in openers.  The media expected big things from this team during the preseason, voting them to finish second in the Pac-12 South.  Winning close games has always been a problem for this team, coming into tonight with a 3-11 record in contests decided by seven points or less over the last three-plus seasons.

Bettors will likely back the Trojans due to their 10-2 ATS mark as a road underdog, while the home team is 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.

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