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USC Trojan Marqise Lee is looking to having a better showing against Wazzu than he did against Hawaii
USC hasn't lost to Washington State in a decade, and the last time was in a thrilling overtime upset in Pullman, with the Cougars winning 30-27. Aside from that blunder, the Trojans have tamed the Cougars 34 of the past 38 times, including the last seven in a row. It's been two years since these two squads have faced each other, but history and the crowd atmosphere are on USC's side.
For the Trojans to win, they need to come out confidently and competitively on offense, something we didn't see against Hawaii. Granted, that was for lack of a definitive starting quarterback and this time around, the Trojans know who will be leading the team onto the field. If Cody Kessler can get the offense into a rhythm early, USC should get out to a quick lead on the Cougars.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee had only a couple drops against Hawaii—he caught 8 of 10 balls—but both were critical drops. He let a sure-fire touchdown slip from his grasp, and also let go of what would have been a much-needed first down. This week, he and fellow receivers Nelson Agholor and Darreus Rogers need to be in sync with Kessler for the Trojans to really thread the needle against the Cougars' weak secondary.
On the ground, USC just needs to do what it does best: pound the rock up the middle with no mercy. Starter Silas Redd still sits out with injury, but Tre Madden and Justin Davis have played extremely well in his place.
Defensively, the Trojans' defensive line is already looking outstanding after just one game. USC leads the country with seven sacks, and specialists Dion Bailey, Devon Kennard and Leonard Williams are looking to rack up even more against the Cougars. While they won't give fans cause for pause, USC's secondary is still an area for concern. True freshman Su'a Cravens recorded a very impressive interception, but aside from him and Bailey, the secondary looked to be weak in coverage. To avoid a scary situation, the Trojans need to avoid giving up any big passing plays, something that Connor Halliday will be looking to make happen.