USC TROJANS (4-1)
at WASHINGTON HUSKIES (3-2)
Kickoff: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Line: USC -13, Total: 54½
No. 11 USC looks for its third straight victory when it travels to Seattle on Saturday to face a Washington team that is unbeaten at home.
USC is 8-2 SU (5-5 ATS) in the past 10 meetings, but those two losses have come in the past three years. Trojans QB Matt Barkley has just 180 passing YPG, 1 TD and 0 INT in his two games in this series, but is coming off a huge effort in a 38-28 win at Utah (23-of-30, 303 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT). The Huskies are 3-0 at home this year, allowing 12, 13, and 13 points at CenturyLink Field. However, they were crushed at Oregon last week, committing five turnovers and allowing 497 total yards in a 52-21 defeat in Eugene.
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Barkley is nearing the Pac-12 conference record for career touchdown passes, needing just five more to surpass Matt Leinart's 99 TD throws. The record will have likely have to wait a week or two though, considering Washington has allowed just 174 passing YPG, which ranks second in the conference. However, the Huskies haven't faced a wide receiver duo quite as talented as Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. Lee leads the Pac-12 in both receptions (10.4 per game) and receiving yards (130 YPG), and he also had a field day against Washington last year with nine catches for 74 yards and a touchdown, while adding an 88-yard kickoff return for another score. Woods has yet to reach 100 receiving yards this year, something he was able to do seven times in 2011. His worst performance of last season came against these Huskies, as he caught just two passes for five yards. Woods did suffer a head injury last week, but is expected to start. It will be key for the Trojans to attack through the air, as both of their top running backs, Silas Redd (back) and Curtis McNeal (head) are both playing at less than 100 percent. Although the Trojans are allowing 225 passing yards per game, they have done a great job stuffing the run during the past two contests, allowing just 172 yards on 58 carries (3.0 YPC). USC has also forced at least two turnovers in each of its five games this year, totaling 12 takeaways.
Keith Price continues to struggle in 2012, completing less than 60% of his passes with 5 TD and 4 INT on the season. Last year, he set a school record with 33 TD throws, but USC was the only team that he did not throw a TD against. In that 40-17 defeat, Price completed 12-of-16 passes for 125 yards. The good news is that TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (254 rec. yds) is expected to play despite suffering a leg injury in last week's loss in Oregon. He and WR Kasen Williams (340 rec. yds, 3 TD) are the only two Huskies with as much as 70 receiving yards for the season. If Price remains ineffective, the offense will rely even more on sophomore RB Bishop Sankey to get the job done. Sankey has rushed for more than 100 yards in three straight games, scoring five times during this streak. The biggest problem for Washington's defense has been failure to sustain pressure on the quarterback, tallying a mere 1.4 sacks per game (11th in Pac-12) and 4.8 Tackles For Loss per contest (last in Pac-12). The defense has made its share of big plays though, with 10 takeaways in five games.