CF.C Keys To The Game: WSU vs. Southern Cal

SOMETIMES THE GAME just isn’t all that complicated. When the Cougs play host to USC on Saturday (Pac-12 Networks, 1:30 p.m.) Wazzu can put themselves in Position A by winning the turnover battle, and the majority of the battles in the trenches. Indeed, here’s exactly how WSU can send Southern Cal home with a loss.

Cougars (2-6) vs Trojans (5-3)
AT A GLANCE
KICKOFF:
1:30 pm Pacific Time

WHERE:
Martin Stadium (32,952)

TELEVISION:
Networks

RADIO:
The Cougar Sports Radio Network covers much of the West. Click here for listings.

THE LINE:
WSU is a nine-point underdog

LAST MEETING:
2013: WSU won 10-7

THE SERIES:
WSU is 58-9-4 in the series.

CF.C PREDICTION:
Cougs 35, Trojans 34

WHEN WSU HAS THE BALL
1. Keep it.
WSU cannot turn the ball over Saturday in what look to be wet conditions, (60 percent chance of showers.) Success is predicated on sustained drives that not only wear down the Trojans’ young secondary, but also keep the Cougar D rested and ready.

2. Don't give up on the ground game.
Teams are mostly ignoring WSU’s running attack of late. Jamal Morrow (pictured above) had 11 catches and averaged 8 yards per carry (six touches) last week -- I doubt USC spent much time this practice week working on their run defense for Morrow, (or Theron West, who is likely to see more playing time Saturday.)

WHEN WSU IS ON DEFENSE
3. Take away the ground game.
Priority One is containing Javorius Allen, (listed by USC as "probable" but he's all but certain to start and play.) If the Trojans run the ball effectively and with regularity, the WSU offense is going to have to be close to picture perfect to keep pace.

4. Pressure QB Cody Kessler like crazy.
The WSU secondary is young, inexperienced and has been banged up in recent weeks. But here’s the thing: The Cougar defense looks its best when they simply attack the quarterback like they did against Utah (and to a degree, Oregon.) Get heat on Kessler and the back end will look a whole lot better. So send ‘em, Coach Breske, and let the chips fall where they may.

WHEN WSU IS ON SPECIAL TEAMS
5. Directional kick and break the streak.
WSU's coverage units have been woeful and USC has some guys who can hit a seam. Punter Jordan Dascalo doesn’t need 50-yard boots like last week, he needs well placed punts and if one goes out of bounds after 35 yards, so be it. WSU is getting closer to taking one back to the posts on a kickoff return. Give Vince Mayle a lane and go long, young man. Go long.

Check back on CF.C after the game for our wall-to-wall coverage.


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