The players won’t oppose each other directly but will be central figures in the rushing attacks for their respective teams. Dye and Valladay each rank in the top five in the conference in total rushing yards, rushing yards per game, and yards per rush.
Dye has recorded three straight 100-yard games to give him 10 for his career — many at Oregon, where he played before USC – while Valladay, who is tied for the conference lead with four rushing touchdowns, saw his streak of three straight 100-yard games come to an end last week in the Sun Devil’s loss to Utah.
The main difference between these teams on offense has been the play of the quarterbacks. Sophomore Caleb Williams struggled last week in the Trojan’s 17-14 win over Oregon State, but before that averaged 291 yards per game while throwing eight touchdowns in the first three games of the season.
Arizona State junior Emory Jones has been held in check by a pair of ranked teams in Oklahoma State and Utah, completing just 55% of his passes for 217 yards per game with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Williams, the Oklahoma transfer, has also been the better player running the ball as he has gained 100 yards on 36 carries with a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has brought his ball-hawking defensive style from Oklahoma and it has paid instant dividends for the Trojans, who lead the FBS in interceptions (11), defensive touchdowns (four) and turnover margin (14). USC is also in the top five in the nation in sacks with 14 for 84 yards.
Max Williams and Mekhi Blackmon lead the way with two interceptions apiece and Tuli Tuipulotu and Solomon Byrd have three sacks each for the Trojans, who are 30th in scoring defense (18.25 points per game).
Linebackers Eric Gentry, who transferred from Arizona State, where he was a Freshman All-American, and Shane Lee have combined for 62 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three passes defended and two picks. Lee has one of three pick-sixes for the USC Trojans.
Arizona State may be able to exploit the Trojans on kick-off returns.
The Arizona State Sun Devils have one of the nation’s top kick-off returners in Daniyel Ngata, who has averaged 31.2 yards per return, good for seventh in the FBS.
USC has struggled to cover kick-off returns, allowing an average of 23.46 yards, which ranks 101st out of 131 FBS teams.
“He competed for that job and won the job and so I always make sure those guys understand every job is up for competition,” interim ASU head coach Shaun Aguano told the media. “Now I am asking him to be a complement to X (Valladay), so he has a lot on his plate.”
Ngata has gained 125 yards on 21 carries as the backup to Valladay.
Arizona State vs USC Injury Report
Aguano announced that defensive backs and brothers Keon and Kejuan Markham, who missed last week’s game, will be away from the team for personal reasons. RB Deonce Elliott and DB Ro Torrence may be close to a return for the Sun Devils.
USC did not provide an updated injury report.
Arizona State vs USC Head-to-Head
Despite losing last season’s matchup 31-16, the Trojan lead the all-time series 23-14, including 13-6 at home. USC, which has a 109-35-4 record in night games at the Coliseum, have won five of the last seven meetings against Arizona State.
Kyle Soelle, who leads the Sun Devils with 51 tackles and two interceptions, registered 10 tackles, one interception and one pass break up in last season’s game.
Arizona State vs USC Game Information
- Game: Arizona State vs USC
- Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
- Day/Time: Saturday, Oct. 1st, 10:30 p.m. ET
- Arizona State vs USC Live Stream: ESPN
Arizona State vs USC Betting Lines
The odds in this chart are based on the time of publication. They are subject to change.
Arizona State vs USC Prediction
According to the college football lines, the Trojans are 26-point favorites. That is a big number to cover for a team that is 100th out of 131 FBS teams in rushing defense (171 yards allowed per game) and is facing an explosive back in Valladay.
The Sun Devils have their issues but they did manage to cover 26 points against Oklahoma State and Utah and are a solid bet to do the same in this game.