2021 Game 9: USC Football vs. Arizona State
USC Trojans (4-4, 3-3) at Arizona State Sun Devils (5-3, 3-2)
Sun Devil Football Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
Sun Devil to Watch: Junior QB Jayden Daniels
The quarterback play has been subpar in the Pac-12 this season, but Daniels is the likely front runner for All-Pac-12 First Team because he is accurate and consistent. He leads the conference in completion percentage and ranks second in passer rating, but he's not overly dynamic through the air, averaging 216.8 yards per game with only 7 touchdowns. This is a run-first offense and he contributes mightily on the ground with at least one 10+-yard carry in every game this season.
Donte Williams and Graham Harrell have two of the most talented quarterbacks in the Pac-12 at their disposal in Kedon Slovis and Jaxson Dart but conventional wisdom is that only one can play. The Trojans might buck convention the rest of the season, but they do need to find a rotation or strategy that allows one or both quarterbacks to feel comfortable and play at their best. If it comes down to one drive for the win in Tempe, who gets the nod?
London Has Fallen
All season, the question was, "Who will be the No. 2 guy to Drake London?" London was so good that it turned out not to matter so much as the Trojans have the top passing offense in the Pac-12. But, without London, the Trojans do need other weapons to step up. Keaontay Ingram has quietly become the No. 2 rusher in the Pac-12, posting 342 yards the last two weeks combined. In the pass game, Gary Bryant Jr. and Tahj Washington can expect more volume, and Kyle Ford has the size and pedigree to seize the opportunity over the final month.
The USC run defense is middle of the Pac, but the Trojans have been gashed in all four losses and stout in all four wins. Oregon State is the only top four rushing offense in the conference that the Trojans have faced so far and the Beavers ran up an eye-popping 322 yards on the ground in the Coliseum. ASU and then later UCLA are elite rushing attacks remaining on USC's schedule, which portends a problem if the Trojans don't find some answers.