Saturday, November 14, 2020, Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona, 3:30 p.m. ET
Trojans at Wildcats Betting Preview: Trojans (-14.5), Wildcats (+14.5)
USC Trojans Betting Preview
No. 20 USC (1-0, 1-0 Pac-12) needed two touchdowns in the final three minutes, wrapped around a successful onside kick, to eke past Arizona State 28-27 last week in Los Angeles as four turnovers and three failed fourth-down tries left coach Clay Helton eager to see improvement in the Trojans’ second game.
“The things we have to clean up are the security of the ball and finishing drives in the red zone,” Helton said. “We all made mistakes in that game. We all took turns. It wasn’t just one guy.”
USC has dominated the series with seven consecutive wins over Arizona, including a 41-14 decision last season.
The Trojans have scored at least 36 points in seven of the past nine meetings — and could be on their way to a similar point total against a new-look, and largely inexperienced, Arizona defense. Arizona hasn’t finished better than 92nd nationally in total defense since 2013.
Kedon Slovis was 40 of 55 passing for 381 yards in USC’s opener, with Drake London (eight catches, 125 yards) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (7-100) each topping 100 receiving yards. Tyler Vaughns and Bru McCoy combined for 12 catches and 104 yards.
Helton said he was pleased with how Slovis handled check-downs and didn’t force the ball into coverage.
“Hopefully, that’s where he continues to grow,” Helton said.
Arizona Wildcats Betting Preview
The Wildcats’ scheduled opener against Utah was canceled last week, meaning third-year Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin will be putting his untested offense against an experienced USC defense directed by first-year coordinator Todd Orlando.
“They’ve got veteran players and a veteran defensive coordinator that is going to bring it,” Sumlin said. “They faced a young quarterback last week and brought it. They’ve got another young one this week. I don’t think that’s going to change for him.”
USC, which posted seven tackles for loss last week, will take aim at Arizona quarterback Grant Gunnell, a sophomore who flashed potential in three starts last season. The running back group, led by Gary Brightwell, might be the best position group on the team.
But Arizona is pinning its hopes on the arm and leadership of Gunnell to turn around a program that lost its final seven games of 2019.
He already has been chosen a season captain.
“He’s really taking charge of the offense,” receiver Jamarye Joiner said, “and that’s what we need.”
The Wildcats have four new defensive assistants, including coordinator Paul Rhoads, a veteran coach who spent the past two seasons coaching defensive backs at UCLA.
He is shifting the Wildcats from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme, but the preseason grad transfers of stalwarts Tony Fields II (West Virginia) and Colin Schooler (Texas Tech) left the expanded linebacker position perilously thin.
Inside linebacker Anthony Pandy is a good one, and Jalen Harris — needed to be a key pass rusher — moves from end to outside linebacker.
Trojans at Wildcats Betting Pick for November 14, 2020
The Trojans have won seven consecutive outings against the Wildcats and will have the advantage of having played a game, albeit a one-point home win over Arizona State.
Slovis was 19 of 28 passing for 232 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans in their 41-14 romp last year while Gunnel was 16 of 26 passing for the Wildcats.
Trojans at Wildcats Betting Pick:
Trojans 35, Wildcats 17
Trojans at Wildcats Best Bet for November 14, 2020
The Trojans should have success against the Wildcats’ defense. The Wildcats ranked No. 120 out of 130 FBS teams on defense last season and will be adjusting to new coaches on that side of the ball.
Trojans at Wildcats Best Bet: UNDER 67.5