5 things to watch: USC vs. Washington Huskies

October, 2, 2010
10/02/10
7:31
AM PT
Five things to watch:

1. See Jake Run? USC is less concerned about Jake Locker's planned runs than they are about improvised broken plays, where the defense is out of position. The Trojans have struggled in the past against mobile quarterbacks. Locker's accuracy has not been good this year, so he might be more of a threat leaving the pocket than staying in it.

2. The dog pound: Washington has an inexperienced defensive front and looks uber-susceptible to a good power running game. (See Cornhusker, Nebraska). The Trojans most consistent offense has come from the running game, so look for them to try to pound the Huskies into submission.

3. Ball control: One impressive aspect of USC's 4-0 record is the fact that the Trojans have a negative turnover differential. That tells you that some of these games have been closer than they otherwise would have been. One way USC loses this game is by turning it over a bunch of times. Quarterback Matt Barkley is intent on snapping out of his little funk, in which he's thrown four interceptions in two games.

4. Road rage: Washington hasn't won away from Seattle in nearly three years. It upset the Trojans last year at Husky Stadium, where the weather and the fans are both on the Huskies' side. The sun will be out and so will about 85,000 USC fans at the Coliseum Saturday.

5. Headset wars: USC's Lane Kiffin and Washington's Steve Sarkisian are buddies, but they're also competing for the title of "best hot-shot young coach in the West." The guy who wins this game wins a lot of popularity points with his fan base.
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