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USC facing tough challenge versus Arizona State

The Pac-12 schedule is heating up and this weekend is a critical game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the USC Trojans.

Often time colloquialisms are overused and one of those in football is that “games are often won in the trenches.”

People read that and wonder what it actually means but in the case of the Arizona State and USC matchup, it has great meaning. The game will be determined by how well a strong, experienced and talented defensive line for Arizona State does against the offensive line of USC.

The Sun Devils defensive line is ready to break out and play as they did last season when they sacked the quarterback an amazing 56 times.

At the same time, the USC offensive line is a group of young players that has had some trouble establishing themselves in the first few weeks of the season.

Whichever of the two finds a good rhythm on Saturday will most likely lead its team to victory. This game might be just the second conference game for both, but it means much more. A 0-2 start in Pac-12 equals disaster and that is what the loser in the game faces.

betting 2USC defeated a tough Utah State team last week, but it was obvious its offensive line was inexperienced. Chad Wheeler the left tackle who is a redshirt freshman gave up a sack that caused a fumble after being beaten badly.

That sack was one of the nine the offensive line has allowed after four games, which ranks them No. 103 in the nation.

Arizona State on the other hand, has only three sacks in three games, which is a huge departure from the 56 a season ago when they averaged nearly 5 per game.

Much of the reason is because opponents are keying on the line. Will Sutton the defensive tackle and All American is being double-teamed frequently by opposing offensive lines.

That is expected and last season, where the Sun Devils were able to compensate was getting pressure off the edge, but opponents are countering that by running the ball.

For example, Stanford, to neutralize the pass rush of the Sun Devils, ran the ball 49 times and passed it just 17. By doing that, the Cardinal neutralized the defense’s best asset and attacked the part of the Sun Devils defense that is weak.

That fits well with USC, as they have become more of a running team as the season has progressed.

Todd Graham the head coach for Arizona State is concerned about his rush defense, and should be as they are giving up close to 4.7 yards on each carry.

So, it may be over used but this game will definitely be won in the trenches. If Arizona State can shut the rushing game down of USC and force them to the passing game, the Trojans could be picking their quarterback off the ground often.

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