Analysis: Three things to watch as Huskies host Trojans

The 17th ranked University of Washington Huskies (3-1) will host the # 21 ranked University of Southern California Trojans ( 3-1 2-0) in a clash of the Titans Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium at 12:30 p.m start. Saturday’s game is a must win for the Huskies  who find themselves cellar dweller of the Pac-12 North. The Men of Troy look to have regain swagger of yesteryear with a 2-0 conference record and are tied with the UCLA Bruins for top spot in the Pac 12 South.

TROJANS PASSING GAME

 A rash of injuries  at the quarterback position has  Junior Quarterback Matt Fink starting against the Huskies. JT Daniels suffered  a season ending knee injury in the Trojans season opener and the situation went from worse to downright catastrophic when Danie’s replacement Kedon Slovis was knocked out on the second play of the Trojans 30-23 win over Utah last Friday night . Fink quickly donned  the superman cape and  passed for 351 yards and three touchdowns. The  Huskies front seven will need to exert pressure from the middle, sides and disguised blitz to prevent Fink from settling into a rhythm.

If Fink can stay upright the Trojans  talented receiving duo of Senior Michael Pittman Jr the Pac-12 leader in receptions (31) and receiving yards ( 437) and Tyler  Vaughns second in the Pac-12 with 27 receptions and third with 370 yards could make it a long day for the Huskies Defensive backs. Despite the Qb injuries the Trojans offensive line has given up just five sacks.

CAN JACOB EASON EXPLOIT YOUNG TROJAN DEFENSE

In some ways the  Trojans defense is a mirror image of the Huskies when it comes to the age and experience. The Trojans are young ( 9 starters are either freshmen or sophomores). The Trojans bend but don’t bend defense has been making big play when needed. In the Utah game the Trojans recovered a Utah fumble at the goal line. Strong Safety Talanoa Hufanga leads the Trojans in tackles which is not a good sign when your Db leads the team in tackles. The match here will be if the Huskies running game can overpower the Trojans front seven and open up the play action for Eason who had a solid game against  BYU. Eason will need to be patient in the run game and not force the deep ball if it is not there. Given Aaron Fuller’s mammoth game  at BYU  (8 receptions for 91 yards and a TD ) Eason could have covetous eyes on the deep route.

INTANGIBLES

The Huskies special teams has just been that lately special and solid .Fuller’s 88 yard punt return for a touchdown was a game changer as was Brandon Wellington’s 69 yard fumble recovery for  touchdown. Will the Huskies  be able to continue their special teams and defensive knack for turnovers? The real question is whether the Huskies defense has found an identity.

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