Visiting Sun Devils will test No. 16 Trojans

first_imgDespite a bumpy start against Oregon State on Saturday night, USC is now 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 2007 after defeating the Beavers 35-10 at the Coliseum.Seize the Davis · Sophomore tailback Justin Davis found the endzone twice in Saturday’s victory over Oregon State, once on the ground and once through the air. Davis has 203 yards and three total touchdowns this season. – Benjamin Dunn | Daily Trojan The Trojans (3-1, 2-0) moved up two spots to No. 16 in this week’s AP Poll, and they will return to the practice field on Tuesday in hopes of avoiding a letdown like the one that took place against Boston College on Sept. 13.The team will spend the week preparing for an Arizona State squad that had then-No. 11 UCLA on the ropes with a 17-6 lead in the first half in Tempe, Arizona, though the Bruins eventually responded with a 42-point scoring outburst on the way to a 62-27 victory over the now unranked Sun Devils (3-1, 1-1).Retribution will also be on the line for the Trojans, as they look to get back at the Sun Devils for a humiliating 62-41 stomping last season that ended up being Lane Kiffin’s last game as head coach.It remains questionable whether the Sun Devils will be with or without their star quarterback, Taylor Kelly, who missed the UCLA game after injuring his right foot in the team’s 38-24 win over Colorado.ASU head coach Todd Graham said that Kelly’s foot will be reevaluated on Wednesday and that Kelly is currently “pretty questionable” to play in Saturday’s game.For now, it looks like redshirt junior quarterback Mike Bercovici, who threw for nearly 500 yards and three touchdowns but also had three turnovers against UCLA, will get the start for the Sun Devils.As always for USC head coach Steve Sarkisian, the focus for this week will be on making adjustments and getting better, and he addressed some potential improvements in his weekly teleconference.One of the areas that Sarkisian emphasized was sophomore safety Su’a Cravens’s move to the linebacker position in the first half of the Oregon State game.“We were hopeful that we could have increased [his role] by last night,” Sarkisian said. “It’s just, I don’t think Su’a [Cravens] or ourselves were comfortable enough with him being in there with that unit with some of the calls we had. It’ll be a point of emphasis of ours this week. He definitely has playmaking ability.”The Los Angeles native had arguably his best game in a USC uniform with a team-high six tackles, a sack and a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter to give his team an early 7-0 lead.As for areas of improvement, Sarkisian emphasized special teams after the team allowed a 97-yard kick return for a touchdown and senior kicker Andre Heidari shanked a 36-yard field goal.“That’s a problem, and we need to fix it,” Sarkisian said.The first-year head coach added that the team’s running backs, redshirt junior Javorius “Buck” Allen and sophomore Justin Davis, who combined for 197 yards on 35 carries, were going down too easily in one-on-one situations.“When you’re one-on-one, that should be an advantage,” Sarkisian said.Discipline is another area that the Trojans could improve on, as they were penalized 14 times for a total of 124 yards against the Beavers.Sarkisian said that he doesn’t mind the increased number of flags by Pac-12 officials as long as they are consistent and call the game both ways.As far as injuries go, the Trojans have stayed healthy for the most part. Sarkisian mentioned, however, that redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Jordan Simmons suffered a bone bruise on his knee in practice towards the end of last week and will be out for one to two weeks.USC’s Saturday tilt will kick off at 4:30 p.m. PST and will be nationally televised on FOX.last_img read more