USC vs. ASU Gameday Guide: Matchups, lineups, links, odds and more

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /


Sun Devil Stadium | Tempe, AZ12:30 p.m. Pacific | ABCAll-time series: USC leads 21-13Last meeting: ASU 38, USC 35 in 2018

USC vs. ASU presents a potential turning point for both squads, with bowl eligibility up for grabs.

The Sun Devils are coming off back-to-back losses—an 18-point loss to Utah and a less-close-than-it-looks 42-32 game versus UCLA. Both of those came on the road, but ASU will be back home at Sun Devil Stadium this weekend.

At 5-3, they can’t win the Pac-12 South, so the goal in the final month of the season will be to continue to progress under Herm Edwards with a strong finish.

USC will also be looking to finish out the final three games of the season on a high after reaching rock bottom in a 56-24 loss to Oregon at the Coliseum last weekend.

To do so they will have to overcome shaky road form in Tempe. Lucky for them, they already managed to notch their first away win of the season at the end of October against Colorado. Clay Helton and company will hope the mental toughness they showed in that comeback will come out once more.

Distractions may color the game though. USC just installed new athletic director Mike Bohn, no doubt putting pressure on Helton to deliver. During his introductory press conference, Bohn told reports he expects his head coach to finish strong. There seemed to be an “or else” implied.

Will Helton be able to keep Bohn on his side with a victory? Or will Herm Edwards get the better of the Trojans again after pulling off an upset in 2018?

Gameday Links

Preview Podcast:

Co-hosts Michael Castillo and Alicia de Artola get ready for the USC vs. ASU game by looking at the key storylines and matchups.

LISTEN: USC vs. ASU Preview

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USC football injury report

    • DB Max Williams (foot)
    • DL Jacob Lichtenstein (calf)
    • LB Solomon Tuliaupupu (foot)
    • OLB Hunter Echols (shoulder)
    • OL Andrew Vorhees (foot)
    • QB JT Daniels (knee)
    • WR Munir McClain (knee)
    • WR Bru McCoy (illness)
  • OUT:
    • LB Jordan Iosefa (knee)
    • OL Liam Jimmons (elbow)
    • RB Vavae Malepeai (knee)
    • RB Markese Stepp (foot)
    • TE Ethan Rae (knee)
    • DB Greg Johnson (concussion)
    • RB Stephen Carr (hamstring)
    • RB Dominic Davis (concussion)
    • WR Michael Pittman (ankle)
    • DB Talanoa Hufanga (shoulder)
    • DL Drake Jackson (ankle)
    • LB Abdul-Malik McClain (shoulder)

ASU Injury Report

  • OUT:
    • PK Brandon Ruiz (undisclosed)
    • RB Isaiah Floyd (transfer)
    • QB Jayden Daniels (undisclosed)


When USC has the ball…

ASU’s rush defense has been the strength of their team thus far, but they’ll be going up against a Trojan team who won’t be all that interested in running the ball.

After all, USC is still down to fourth-string running back Kenan Christon, with Stephen Carr as a 50-50 gametime decision and Vavae Malepeai and Markese Stepp still out.

That means quarterback Kedon Slovis and his gifted receivers will have to carry the load.

The pass-heavy strategy didn’t exactly work against Oregon. The Ducks picked off Slovis three times and produced a sack-fumble near the goal line.

Slovis will have to protect the ball better this week, but at least the level of difficult figures to be slightly easier. ASU isn’t particularly proficient at getting turnovers. They only have three interceptions, but they do rank third nationally in fumbles recovered.

The Sun Devils aren’t particularly disruptive when it comes to sacks either, ranking 87th nationally.

The underrated matchup to watch may be between USC center Brett Neilon and ASU nose tackle D.J. Davidson, who is 313 pounds and could exploit Neilon’s struggles this season with big bodies in the middle.

ASU Defense

E #90 Jermayne Lole, So.N #98 D.J. Davidson, RS-So.E #17 George Lea, RS-Sr.B #20 Khaylan Kearse-Thomas, RS-Sr.M #8 Merlin Robertson, So.B #37 Darien Butler, So.LR #16 Aashari Crosswell, So.T #4 Evan Fields, Jr.RR #15 Cam Phillips, RS-Fr.C #5 Kobe Williams, Sr.C #24 Chase Lucas, RS-Jr.

USC Offense

LT #73 Austin Jackson, Jr.LG #75 Alijah Vera-Tucker, RS-So.C #62 Brett Neilon, RS-So.RG #70 Jalen McKenzie, RS-So.RT #53 Drew Richmond, RS-Sr.TE #84 Erik Krommenhoek, Jr.X #6 Michael Pittman, Sr.A #15 Drake London, Fr.Y #8 Amon-Ra St. Brown, So.Z #21 Tyler Vaughns, RS-Jr.RB #23 Kenan Christon, Fr.QB #9 Kedon Slovis, Fr.

When ASU has the ball…

Despite the presence of Eno Benjamin, the Pac-12’s leading rusher in 2018, the Sun Devils have not been a particularly great rushing team in 2019. At least not in the traditional sense.

Instead, they have relied on the talents of freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels, a run-happy dual-threat quarterback.

Daniels leads the nation in scrambles this season, which should be a worry for USC’s defense, which has been gashed by mobile quarterbacks throughout the season.

While he hasn’t been much of a prolific passer, he has avoided giving the ball away. He has 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions.

The question is whether or not Daniels will play, having been declared a “game-time decision” on Friday afternoon.

Whether it’s Daniels or backup Joey Yellen throwing the ball, they will have quite a dynamic target in wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. He leads the conference with six plays of 40 or more yards this season.

USC will at least have outstanding freshman end Drake Jackson back in action, along with safety Talanoa Hufanga. Both of those key starters missed the last two outings with injury.

ASU offense

QB #5 Jayden Daniels, Fr.RB #3 Eno Benjamin, Jr.X #2 Brandon Aiyuk, Sr.H #10 Kyle Williams, Sr.Z #84 Frank Darby, RS-Jr.Y #87 Tommy Hudson, RS-Sr.LT #77 LaDarius Henderson, Fr.LG #56 Alex Losoya, RS-Sr.C #73 Cohl Cabral, Sr.RG #61 Dohnovan West, Fr.RT #71 Steve Miller, RS-Sr.

USC defense

DE #89 Christian Rector, RS-Sr.DT #78 Jay Tufele, RS-So.NT #51 Marlon Tuipulotu, RS-So.DE #99 Drake Jackson, Fr.SLB #42 Abdul-Malik McClain, RS-Fr.MLB #10 John Houston, RS-Sr.WLB #1 Palaie Gaoteote, So.CB #2 Olaijah Griffin, So.FS #21 Isaiah Pola-Mao, RS-So.SS #15 Talanoa Hufanga, So.NK #23 Kaulana Makaula, Fr.CB #6 Isaac Taylor-Stuart, RS-Fr.

Odds (ASU -1.5):

USC is a 1.5-point underdog to the Sun Devils, courtesy of the Action Network consensus line. The over/under for the game is 55 points.