Date/Time: September 21, 2013 3:30 pm EST
College Football Betting Favorite: USC -6.5
Utah State is a much improved program over the past few years, and they’ll get a major test as they head to the West Coast to take on USC. The Trojans bounced back from a horrible home loss to Washington State with a win over Boston College last week. This is their chance to prove they are back once again, because Utah State is a much better team than Boston College. Who steps up in this game?
If you haven’t heard of Utah State, you need to start paying attention. The Aggies used to be a bottom-feeder, but Gary Andersen turned around this program into a real contender. Andersen isn’t there anymore, but Matt Wells is a good steady hand leading this team. Utah State lost a heartbreaker in the season opener to Utah, but they have bounced back with two massive wins. The Aggies have a star at quarterback in Chuckie Keeton. Keeton has 12 touchdowns and one interception so far this year. Keeton has completed 78% of his passes this season. Keeton also leads the team in rushing with 187 yards on the ground.
This isn’t just a one-sided team though, the defense is very strong as well. Utah State’s front seven has been shutting down running games for the past couple years, and the secondary is very talented as well. The Aggies are allowing just 148 yards per game through the air so far this year. Nevin Lawson is a budding star for the Aggies secondary. There is no weakness on this defense, and I expect them to have good numbers all year.
USC was seen by many as a team that could surprise a lot of people this year thanks to their wealth of talent on both sides of the ball. So far in 2013, it has been more of the same from Lane Kiffin’s crew. The Trojans have been a big disappointment. There’s still plenty of time for them to turn it around, but they certainly can’t afford a loss to a team from the Mountain West. Losing at home to Washington State (when the Cougars didn’t even score an offensive touchdown) scarred this team in a big way. Last week’s win over Boston College started them back on the right track, but the offense has a long ways to go.
Kiffin has decided to go with sophomore Cody Kessler at quarterback. Kessler played well last week, but he still has plenty to prove. Silas Redd is questionable for this game, and the Trojans will definitely get a big boost whenever he returns to the lineup. Defensively, USC has been great this season. The Trojans are fourth in the country in total defense. They are giving up just 43.7 rushing yards per game so far this season. They need some help from the offense moving forward.
Free Pick: Under 51.5
I have a strong premium play on the ATS winner in this game, which is available for sale at BTBCappers. For the free play, I like the under in this one. Both defenses are top-notch.
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