A primetime matchup featuring the Texas Longhorns and USC Trojans, what’s not to like? For the first time since the epic 2006 National Championship, Texas and USC will meet for a rematch. Well, the coaches will be different, personnel on the field of course will be different, and the stakes a little lower. Nonetheless, when two storied football programs like Texas and USC come together, it’s time to pay attention and watch. If you recall, that National Championship in 2006 gave berth to a legend at Texas. Vince Young staged one of the most well-known last drives in college football history. With the Longhorns deep in USC territory, Young looked for an open receiver but took off on his legs and snuck in the right pylon for the winning touchdown.
The three big names of that game are all out of football. Vince Young, Matt Leinart, and Reggie Bush all went on to the NFL but none of them met their expectations. In college, it looked like there were three future HOF’s playing in the 2006 National Championship. Bush had the longest career, but he came out of college expected to be the second coming of Barry Sanders. Sam Darnold is the next up and coming USC quarterback. There’s a lengthy list of USC quarterbacks who never panned out as a professional, including Leinart. Darnold hopes to buck the trend and live up to tremendous expectations.
Darnold has looked good thus far. He made some exquisite plays against a quality Stanford secondary last week. He threw two interceptions on a couple of nice plays by Stanford DBs, but his 4 touchdowns made the difference. Darnold hasn’t had a Heisman performance yet, ala Josh Rosen, but he’s going to have enough big stages to prove himself as the year moves on. Darnold doesn’t have to win games just on his own. He has a capable offensive line, and an NFL running back in Ronald Jones. Freshman Stephen Carr has shown flashes of superstar potential, too. Defending their offense is not simple, just ask Western Michigan and Stanford. Let’s head to our free Texas vs. USC pick below.
Texas Longhorns vs. USC Trojans Betting Odds:
vs. USC -15.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Texas vs. USC Pick:
Darnold and the USC offense didn’t play the part in Week 1 against Western Michigan. They looked stuck in mud at times and still scored 42 points. The 49th point came off a pick-6. Darnold didn’t throw a touchdown, with 2 interceptions. Ronald Jones took care of the ball, rushing for 159 yards and 3 touchdowns. Behind that offensive line, it’s going to be the same story all season long. Stanford is usually the team who punches the other team in the mouth, but last week it was USC being the aggressors along the line.
Jones followed Western Michigan up with 116 yards and 2 touchdowns against Stanford. Darkhorse Heisman candidate? If he continues putting up numbers like this, and USC keeps winning, it could be him and not his quarterback that has a better chance of winning the Heisman. Unlikely, but Jones is good as any player in the country. Lots of credit has to go to their offensive line as well. I am going to confidently say that he is in for another gaudy performance on Saturday night. USC has rushed for 270 yards per game thus far, 15th in the country.
Conversely, Texas was battered against the run in their opener against Maryland. The Terrapins walked into Austin and ran all over the field, putting up a total of 270 yards on Texas. That’s what you call an intro for new head coach Tom Herman. There isn’t much patience left in Texas, and that wasn’t the debut of a new era they were looking for. The Longhorns may go with three quarterbacks in this game. They said that all three are on the table to get some playing time Shane Buechele didn’t get the start last week after an injury, but should be up for this one against USC, according to reports.
Buechele isn’t a bad quarterback, but the future is Sam Ehlinger’s at Texas. The Longhorns can’t wait to usher in the Ehlinger era, however, he is only a freshman. Chris Warren could find room to run on a USC defense that has allowed an average of 216.5 yards per game against Western Michigan and Stanford. If Warren runs wild, they will stick around in this game, and make it a heck of a lot easier on the Texas quarterbacks. Texas must score and score often, because the Trojans are going to ring up the scoreboard. Points should come easy in this one, so I recommend a pick on the OVER at the Coliseum.
PICK: OVER 67.5 (-110)