Texas (1-1) at Southern California (2-0), Saturday @ 7:30 p.m.
Line: USC by 17
Series Record: USC leads 4-1
WHAT’S AT STAKE
After dismantling Stanford, USC is one of the hottest teams in the country and wants to stay that way, not only for their national playoff hopes but to keep quarterback Sam Darnold in the Heisman Trophy hunt. Texas coach Tom Herman has a reputation as a big-game coach in his short career. Nothing would give his tenure some Hollywood sizzle like beating a top-five program on the road on national television.
Darnold vs. Texas cornerback Holton Hill. Darnold shredded Stanford for 313 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also turnover prone with four in two games. Hill is the best ball hawk in the country right now. He leads Texas in scoring with two interception returns for touchdowns and another score on a blocked kick return.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Texas: Quarterback, whoever it is. Regular starter Shane Buechele is the team’s best passer but missed the last game with a bruised shoulder. Freshman Sam Ehlinger started against San Jose State and is more of a dual threat. Jerrod Heard is a former starting quarterback who moved to wide receiver and is back under center. He got several snaps last week and ran for two scores. USC must be ready for all three.
USC: TB Ronald Jones. The Texas native averages 137.5 yards two games. He faces a Texas defense that gets pushed around at the line of scrimmage and misses too many tackles at linebacker. Jones could grind down the Longhorns again.
FACTS & FIGURES
Texas has yet to make a field goal. K Joshua Rowland, a former JUCO All-American, is 0-3. Texas hasn’t beaten a top-five opponent on the road since 2005, but Herman is 6-0 as a head coach against ranked opponents by an average margin of 14 points. The USC media guide has the Trojans as 4-0 all-time against Texas. The Trojans claim the loss to Texas in 2006 Rose Bowl was “vacated’ by the NCAA because of penalties for USC rules violations.
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