3 Keys to Victory

The USC Trojans will face the winless Washington Huskies this Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. SCPlaybook's Lyle Everett takes an in-depth look at both teams and breaks down the three keys to a Trojan victory. Look inside for all the details.

1) Pressure Fouch – Washington quarterback Ronnie Fouch has not played against the speed and viciousness of USC's defense. Hit him early and often and do not allow him to establish any kind of continuity. Force him into long yardage situations that dare him to throw the ball late over the middle and capitalize on every turnover opportunity he provides. He's a redshirt freshman making his fourth start, so treat him as such.

SC cannot afford to sit back and let Washington's two running backs pick up early yardage. Shutting down the run will lead to favorable long yardage situations so the D-line can pin their ears back and get after Fouch in the pocket. SC's D needs to make him feel very uncomfortable on Saturday afternoon. Any kind of Tavita Pritchard-type plays need to be dislodged from his memory bank early on. Don't even give him hope.

2) Put some points on the scoreboard – This isn't the kind of week that USC needs to go through the motions and not thoroughly dominate their opponent. Should SC score less than 30 points, we'll all be wondering what happened. Steve Sarkisian should stick to the basics on the first few drives of the game and focus on moving the ball down field and taking some time off the clock. After the first couple of drives, go ahead and open up the playbook and start scoring points by throwing deep. Washington's cornerback situation is not favorable against USC's talent at wide receiver. Take advantage of every mismatch and blow them away.

Trick plays are completely unnecessary against the Huskies. There is no need to put Joe McKnight in shotgun formation this week. Go with what has gotten you to this point and focus on doing the little things right. It can be very easy to lose focus in a game that has blowout written all over it. SC should be trying to get better with every play, constantly working toward bigger and better games without discounting the opponent lined up in front of them.

3) Ignore the media – The Trojans are 43-point favorites to win on Saturday afternoon and even if they cover that monumental line, they won't win over any media types from other parts of the country. Unfortunately, the Pac-10 is very much perceived as having a down year and opponents like Washington don't do anything to help matters. As a player, you have to ignore the fact that you're supposed to win by 43 points and just go out there and play. Play for your friends and family in the stands and play for your teammates beside you.

Beating U-Dub by 43 points isn't going to get USC any closer to the BCS Championship game, but beating them by anything less than four touchdowns puts them on the outside looking in. The folks in the national media will criticize USC whether they beat Washington by 10 or 50. Maybe if they hang 100 some heads will turn, but Pete Carroll doesn't operate like that. Execute the game plan, stay focused and come off the field injury free heading into next week.

Prediction: The only real question will be whether or not USC's defense can pitch a shutout and start another opponent scoreless streak this week. We think U-Dub connects on a field goal at some point - either real early (when Carroll seems to allow opponents to move the ball so he can note exactly what they are trying to do with their game plan) or real late.

USC 55, Washington 3

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