USC looks to continue undefeated season against Washington State

The Trojans hope to improve to 6-0 on the season.

Jordan Addison is diving forward while being tackled by an Arizona State defender.

The USC Trojans will compete in their fourth Pac-12 conference game of the season against the Washington State Cougars Saturday. In last week’s game versus the Arizona State Sun Devils, the Trojans played down to their competition. ASU has been struggling and going through internal turmoil so far this season. USC cannot take its foot off the gas against the 4-1 Cougars.

USC’s offense is ranked No. 19 in yards per game, but the defense has struggled at times this year. Against Arizona State, the defense allowed a field goal, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion. ASU’s offense has had trouble scoring in the previous games. If not for the offense’s dominance last week, the ASU game could have gone very differently.

The offense, led by sophomore quarterback Caleb Williams, needs to continue its dominance. Williams has been the catalyst for the Trojans all year and needs to continue creating magic for the Trojans to succeed. Williams has averaged 280.4 passing yards and three total touchdowns per game.

Going against the Cougars, Williams will need to find his go-to guy, junior wide receiver Jordan Addison, who currently has 442 yards and six touchdowns throughout five games. In the press conference after the Arizona State game, head coach Lincoln Riley was asked about Williams’ readiness for this upcoming Saturday, and he kept his answer short and simple.

“He’s ready,” Riley said.

The Cougars’ defense will be one of the tougher matchups for the Trojans as WSU has held all its opponents except for Oregon to two or less touchdowns. At Tuesday’s practice, Lincoln was asked to address his thoughts on WSU’s defense.

“They are aggressive up front, and they move enough to cause you problems … You got to be on your game, assignment wise,” Riley said. “You got to understand that this game can look a lot different than Arizona State.”

Washington State sophomore quarterback Cameron Ward has similar stats to Williams – 288 passing yards and 2.8 total touchdowns per game – and creates very difficult matchups for the USC defense. Last week, Ward led his team to a 28-9 victory against Cal and threw for 343 yards, his second highest total of the season.

After Tuesday’s practice, Riley recognized the threat of Ward.

“He uses some of his natural born athleticism to make plays and it’s a good system,” Riley said. “It’s a tough system to stop with that combination of what they run and the quarterback making it go.”

The Trojan coaching staff will need to prepare the defense for a team that has proven its ability to perform well in high-pressure situations and to score with anybody in the country.

In last week’s game against the Golden Bears, WSU struggled offensively in the first half, punting on four of its first five drives. After halftime adjustments, WSU put 21 more points on the board.

USC sometimes struggles in the first half and then turns it on in the second half. If last week’s Arizona State game is any indicator, then the Trojans cannot afford to start slowly. They will need four strong quarters of football for the victory.

The Trojans look to send parents and fans home happy this upcoming Trojan Family Weekend by continuing their undefeated season against the Cougars this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on Fox.