I would say the strength of USC is the team’s defense, but I wouldn’t be giving credit to what could be the best quarterback-wide receiver combo IN THE NATION. Matt Leinart, a 6’5”, 220 lb sophomore, has completed 63.6% of his passes for 2,951 yards and 30 touchdowns, while throwing just seven interceptions. Mike Williams, 6-foot-5, 230-pound sophomore, has caught 80 passes for 1167 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Leinart has passed for at least two touchdowns in all of the Trojans’ games except their first against Auburn; he had one in that contest. Of his seven picks, he threw three against BYU in a 35-18 Trojan victory, and three more in 34-31 multi-overtime loss to the California Golden Bears. That means out of 11 games, Leinart has thrown picks in just three (the seventh was in a 37-17 win over Arizona State).
The last two games Leinart has completed 73.3 and 71.9% of his passes for 296 and 289 yards and six total touchdowns. His lowest completion percentage on the year, 53.8%, was in the Trojans’ lone loss against Cal. He has thrown for over 300 yards twice and both were on the road as he lit up the Notre Dame and University of Washington secondaries for 351 yards apiece.
Williams has been having big games all year. In his last two games Williams has grabbed 11 catches in each for 157 yards and three touchdowns and 181 yards and two touchdowns, respectivley. Other big games for Williams include: seven catches for 129 yards and three touchdowns against Stanford and 10 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns against BYU. As for not so good games (if you can call them that) for Williams: three catches for 70 yards vs. Hawaii, six catches for 43 yards vs. Washington, and four catches for 43 yards vs. WSU.
If the Beavers have any chance he will have to have a game similar to those last three. USC sports a balanced running attack led by two freshmen and a sophomore. LenDale White, a 6-foot-2 225 pound freshman, leads the team with 694 yards and 12 touchdowns. Hershel Dennis, a 5-foot-11 190 pound sophomore, is second on the team with 639 yards and four touchdowns. Reggie Bush, a 6-foot 190 pound freshman, has 409 yards and three touchdowns.
White’s best games include a 21 carry, 140 yard, two touchdown performance
at Arizona State, a 23 carry, 108 yard, two touchdown performance against Stanford,
and a 12 carry, 149 yard, one touchdown performance against WSU. Dennis’
best performance came against Stanford, as he finished with 14 carries for 98
yards. Bush’s best performance came at Notre Dame with six carries for
The Trojans also have an excellent place kicker in Ryan Killeen. He is perfect
on 54 extra point attempts and has hit 18 of 22 field goals with a long of 45.
USC is number one in the Pac-10 averaging 41.3 points per game, with OSU coming
in second at 31.8 ppg. A major factor in the game could be team discipline.
USC has the least amount of penalty yards in the conference with 563, and OSU
has the most penalty yards in the conference with 1238 yards.
I see this game going a lot like Civil War. Although it pains me to say this, I think the Beavers will get the first touchdown and hold a 7-0 lead shortly, before falling by two-to-three touchdowns.
Jake Schubert can be reached at email@example.com.