Friday Night Lights: Pass-Happy Wazzu & USC Will Lead to Shootout

Monday, September 17, 2018 7:50 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 17, 2018 7:50 PM UTC

Our NCAAF handicapper, Mark Lathrop, is coming off of another overall positive week. In this matchup he investigates a Pac-12 prime-time game between 3-0 Washington State and a reeling 1-2 USC team Friday. 

<p style="text-align:right"><em><strong>2018 NCAAF Record: 11-7, +6.92u</strong></em></p><p style="text-align:right"><em><strong>*Note: Record includes official Twitter selections (@mlathrop3)</strong></em></p><h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="" rel="nofollow"><strong>Washington State Cougars (3-0 SU) @ USC Trojans (1-2 SU)</strong></a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Friday, 10:30 PM ET (ESPN)</strong></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Free NCAAF Pick: Over</strong></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>Best Line Offered: <a href=";book=5dimes" rel="nofollow">5Dimes</a></strong></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3449050, "sportsbooksIds":[19,169,238,1275,300], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>The Washington State Cougars had a bit of revenge on their mind against Eastern Washington this weekend, putting up 59 points in a blowout against the FCS powerhouse. I lost my wager on EWU +17, but cruised past the total of 65 to garner a split decision on my writeup of the game. Now Washington State will travel to the Coliseum to face a <a href="" rel="nofollow">desperate USC squad</a> that just got demolished by Texas, albeit on the road in Austin. It was the second loss in a row for USC, as they got destroyed by Stanford the week before.</p><p>USC has had special teams issues this year, and the news that their sophomore place kicker, Chase McGrath, tore his ACL against Texas and will miss the rest of the season is suboptimal. USC has quite the injury bug right now, with nine players listed as questionable, suspended or out for Friday’s game against Washington State. Star linebacker Porter Gustin is included on this list and will miss the first half of this game due to a targeting penalty in the Texas game.</p><p>Southern Cal is breaking in a freshman quarterback in JT Daniels, who went 30-for-48 for 322 yards and 1 INT against Texas. He’ll need the USC running game to help him out if he is to be successful, and they have definitely not done that to start the season. USC ranks 226<sup>th</sup> in the country in rushing for just 109.3 yards per game. That number is terrible considering that the USC offensive line was seen as a strength at the beginning of the season – a luxury to put a freshman QB behind. But if USC abandons the running game in Week 3, they’ll find a willing participant in a shootout in Washington State.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;We are pleased with our 3-0 start but definitely not satisfied with what we’ve accomplished. Conference play starts for WSU on Friday at USC! &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#GoCougs&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— WSU Cougar Football (@WSUCougFB) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;September 17, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>Not surprisingly, Washington State is ranked 3<sup>rd</sup> in the country with 421 yards passing per game. They made a big leap forward in that ranking due to transfer QB Gardner Minshew throwing for 470 yards last week. Not bad for him, especially after averaging just 214 yards passing per game last year. The Cougars really don’t run much by design and average just 80 yards on the ground per game.</p><p>Preseason indicators had USC an 11-point favorite in this matchup, yet here we are after two USC losses in a row and WSU is getting just 3.5 points. I like the Cougars to be competitive here, but I like the pace of play to be brisk as well with USC unable to run the ball. I think both teams will be pass-happy, which should get this game<a href="" rel="nofollow"> 'over' the listed total.</a></p>
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