Two of the most iconic programs in college football will square of in Week 3 of the college football season when the Texas Longhorns host the USC Trojans this week. It hasn’t been a great start to the year for either team. USC wasn’t able to put away UNLV until the fourth quarter in its opener, and the Trojans were listless on offense against Stanford last week. Meanwhile, Texas has simply been listless through its first two games. The Longhorns lost their season opener to Maryland for the second straight year, and they barely hung on to beat Tulsa last week. One of these two fan bases will feel better about itself this week, while the other fan base starts to gnash its teeth.
This contest in Week 3 will go down Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 8 p.m. ET at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.
College Football Odds at BookMaker.eu
There hasn’t been much action on the side per the CFB betting odds in this one. Texas opened as a field goal favorite at home, and the Longhorns have remained at -3 throughout the early part of the week. However, the total has come down a bit. The initial NCAAF betting line set the total at 50.5 for this one, and it has dropped two points to where it currently sits at 48.5.
Player to Watch
JT Daniels has had his share of growing pains early this season. The freshman was likely to have some struggles as he adjusted to the college game, but he has not had a great run of things through his first two games. In his season opener against UNLV, he had a decent debut. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 282 yards with a touchdown, but it took a while for him to get going and USC only led by five points entering the fourth quarter.
Last weekend, Daniels and the Trojans offense were completely smothered on the road against Stanford. He completed under 50 percent of his passes and tossed two interceptions, leading USC to a scant three points.
Daniels is expected to play in this one, but it’s smart to keep an eye on his status as the week progresses. He briefly left the Stanford game with a hand injury, and Helton has not said he will 100 percent start this week.
Matchup to Watch
Longhorns fans are wondering what is wrong with the running game. Tom Herman was supposed to bring a solid offense with a great ground game to Austin, but we haven’t seen anything of the sort early on in his second year on campus.
Texas was not able to run the ball against two run defenses that were mediocre last season. The Longhorns have averaged just 4.6 yards per carry through games against Maryland and Tulsa, and that’s a bit concerning. To make matters worse, home run threat Keaontay Ingram is listed as doubtful for this game, robbing Texas of a key playmaker.
The good news for the Longhorns is that the Trojans have had real problems stopping the run. USC is allowing 6.5 yards per carry through the first two games of the season. To be fair, UNLV and Stanford have very good ground games, but it’s something Texas will look to exploit.
Free ATS Pick
Texas’ defense has been a concern through the first two weeks of the season. After the Longhorns looked like the only defense worth a darn in the Big 12 in 2017, they have taken a step back in 2018. Injuries have played a part in their struggles, but this is another area of concern.
This is going to be an ugly one, but I think the Texas running game will eventually do enough to give the Longhorns the win and the cover.
College Football Odds: Texas 24, USC 17
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