Five Key Matchups to watch out for tomorrow...
USC QB Mark Sanchez vs. Arizona CB Antoine Cason
This will be the biggest individual matchup of the game and its outcome could very well determine who leaves this game a winner. It will be important for Sanchez take some shots downfield, but he must be careful not to test Cason, who will probably be a 1st round pick in the NFL Draft. USC's WR corps is not good enough right now to bail Sanchez out on any indecisions or poorly thrown balls. This is his first career start, so mistakes are going to happen. Golden rule for Sanchez tomorrow, KNOW WHERE #5 IS AT ALL TIMES...
USC RB Chauncey Washington vs. Arizona's Run Defense
Chauncey, the First President, must get going early to take some pressure off Sanchez. Washington struggled to break off any long runs last week with Stanford stacking the box on the Trojans. Chauncey needs to run with authority tomorrow, establish himself, and set the tone for the rest of the game.
USC CB Terrell Thomas vs. Arizona WR Mike Thomas
USC Sports Talk has said it many times , Terrell Thomas sucks. I don't where all this talk about him being a lock down defender came from. The average sports fan needs to look no further than across the sideline at Arizona CB Antoine Cason to find a real shut down corner. Mike Thomas is very explosive in this new spread offense that Arizona has implemented. It will be up to Terrell Thomas to break down and not let Mike turn a 5 yard slant into a 70 yard touchdown.
USC RT Drew Radovich vs. Arizona Defensive Ends
Radovich has been USC's most vulnerable offensive lineman during the past two seasons. Many of Booty's sacks and tipped passes have been a result of Radovich doing a poor job in pass blocking. Sam Baker and Jeff Byers are as good a left side that you'll find on any offensive line in the country, so you can expect Arizona to target Radovich. Sanchez will need to feel comfortable in the pocket if he is to succeed tomorrow.
USC DE Kyle Moore vs. Arizona LT Peter Graniello
The Trojans are going to give up yards against this spread offense passing attack, but they will need to generate pressure on QB Willie Tuitama. If USC's defensive line does not register any sacks or force Tuitama into hurrying his throws, then it will be a long afternoon for the Trojan secondary. Sacks and INT's will negate a 400 yard passing day from Tuitama. There's no question that big Sedrick Ellis will once again be a disruptive force on the inside, but he needs Moore or LoJack to get some pressure of the edge.
Offensively, I think Carroll and Sarkisian will pull the reigns back while Mark Sanchez settles down and works the jitters out. They will try to establish the running game early and maintain ball possession in order to keep Arizona's high octane offense on the sidelines. Look for CB Antoine Cason to disguise his coverage to confuse Sanchez and bait him into throwing an INT. Sanchez must maintain his composure if he does throw an early INT. The coaching staff will need to limit his reads and give Sanchez plenty of check downs. Fred Davis has been unstoppable this season and tomorrow should be no different, he will definitely help loosen things up on the outside. Arizona will stack the box with 8 or 9 guys, leaving their corners on an island, so USC will need to make the necessary adjustments and throw the ball in the 2nd half.
Defensively, the Wildcats know that USC's run defense is very good so they will definitely stick to what they do best, which is throw the ball. I'm not sure the Trojans can hold Arizona under 300 yards passing, but the key will be sacks and turnovers. USC's defense will do just enough to win the game. Thomas Williams and Keith Rivers will either jump a slant route for a pick or force a fumble on a quick WR screen. It's gut check Saturday for USC, but the coaches will keep the game plan simple and will be happy just to get back on the winning track...Prediction: USC 31, Arizona 21
Joey -- Joey as unable to post predictions because there was some foul bacteria eating away at his stomach lining.
PCBestever -- If losing to Stanford doesn't fire this team up I don't know what will. Yea I do.... Mark Sanchez will! Guaranteed the team responds with more intensity with Sanchez on the field. Prediction: USC 35, Arizona 6. (With the rain and our blocking on special teams I doubt we kick any field goals tomorrow)
RG3 -- After the unthinkable happened last week, USC will be hungry and ready to win some respect back. If our team has any balls, we'll come out fired up today and start the streak at the Coliseum all over again. Sanchez will start slow and eventually get into a rhythm with his new favorite targets, RoJo and Ausberry. USC 31 Arizona 17