USC Football: Keys to Victory vs. Georgia Tech
After a rough end to the regular season, USC will face Georgia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 in El Paso.
The Trojans (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12) dropped their last two games against Notre Dame and UCLA, watching their run defense get carved up and their starting quarterback suffer a sprained shoulder.
Georgia Tech (6-7, 5-3 ACC) features a menacing rushing attack, but the Yellow Jackets have also allowed 29.9 points per game, 79th in the nation.
Here is what the Trojans must do to come away with the victory on Dec. 31.
Limit the Running Game
Georgia Tech's offense is predicated on its running game. The Yellow Jackets rank fourth in the nation in rushing yards per game (312.5), led by dual-threat quarterback Tevin Washington.
Washington set the Pac-12's single-season record for rushing touchdowns this season (19) and the Yellow Jackets' rushing attack posted 183 yards against a strong Florida State run defense last week.
USC has been hurt by the run this season, allowing 3.99 yards per carry (tied for 50th in the FBS, via CFBStats.com).
Expose Georgia Tech's Pass Defense
While Georgia Tech's running game could pose problems for USC, the Yellow Jackets have allowed 7.6 yards per pass attempt this season (tied for 85th in the country).
Given Matt Barkley is expected to play for the Trojans, USC has the potential to do some major damage through the air against Georgia Tech.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray averaged 12.6 yards per pass attempt with two touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 42-10 thumping of the Yellow Jackets on Nov. 24.
Protect Matt Barkley
Given Barkley is coming off a sprained shoulder, the Trojans would be wise to keep him safe in the Sun Bowl.
Georgia Tech junior linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu is a guy to look out for. He's racked up 10 sacks this season, tied for 16th in the country. Plus, 4.5 of those sacks have come against ranked opponents Florida State, Georgia and Clemson.
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