Texas OT Connor Williams Leaves Game vs. USC with Knee Injury

Texas at USC - 9/16/17 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Tom Herman is a Texan by choice

After two weeks of college football, there is a contest between two teams that used to be powerful rivals.

Fourth-ranked USC and Texas will meet Saturday for the first time since their epic clash at the 2006 Rose Bowl, with the host Trojans looking for their 12th straight victory dating to last season.

No team had compiled more rushing yards against Stanford since 2010, then led by Jim Harbaugh.

The Texas Longhorns started the season with high hopes. New coach Tom Herman was considered by many to be the top hire for 2017, and he inherited a program with 16 returning starters and a handful of promising young players. However, his season could not have started any worse. You may remember that game.

The Texas defense has only surrendered 348 passing yards this season (Maryland: 219; San Jose State: 129) but it has yet to face a combination likes of Darnold and receivers Deontay Burnett and Steven Mitchell.

But a furious finish in the fourth quarter, capped off by a USC win in double overtime made the wait worth it for the 84,714 that filled the Coliseum on Saturday.

But despite a top-five ranking and home-field advantage, USC got all they could handle from the visiting Longhorns, needing a last-minute drive from quarterback Sam Darnold to force overtime. This season, the Trojans are expected to compete for a national championship and are now ranked in the top four according to the Associated Press. The Trojans were sleepwalking through the opener against Western Michigan until the talent prevailed with big plays in the fourth quarter.

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The move was surprising, since Odom calls all the defensive signals and is considered the de facto defensive coordinator. After beginning the game on the bench, Crockett had just 10 carries for 19 yards, fueling injury concerns.

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The quick takeaway: The Trojans have three huge problem areas to address after Week 3: pass-catching, play calling and health on the defensive line. Texas has not finished a season ranked since 2012 or above.500 since 2013.

That likely means Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck will again employ a combination of true freshman Sam Ehlinger and wildcat specialist Jerrod Heard.

In the Rose Bowl last January, the Nittany Lions rushed for more than 200 yards against USC and scored two touchdowns on plays of 70-plus yards, including Saquon Barkley's 79-yard run.

"Connor Williams is the best left tackle we saw a year ago", a Big 12 defensive coordinator told Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated over the summer. Darnold, in an act of clairvoyance, threw to a spot and Burnett got it. With an explosive USC offense on the other side, controlling the line of scrimmage and establishing the run are musts if Texas wants to pull the upset.

After Texas defensive back Holton Hill slipped, Jones cut to his left and beat the secondary to the end zone.

Texas a test for USC • Clay Helton knows a little something about big-time college football programs struggling to live up to sky-high expectations.

They could pose problems for USC's defense, which could be without three starters. Give me USC in a blowout. Carrington has lived up to the hype after transferring from OR, tying for No. 6 in the country with 128 receiving yards per game and trying for No. 11 with 17 receptions.

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