University of Washington

Previewing this week’s opponents for the Huskies and Cougars


USC TROJANS (6-3 overall, 4-2 Pac-12)

4:30 P.M. SATURDAY, HUSKY STADIUM, CH. 13, 1000-AM, 97.7-FM

COACH: Clay Helton (12-7 in parts of three years overall and at USC)

AGAINST THE HUSKIES: USC leads the series 51-29-4.

SCOUTING REPORT: The sky was falling in Los Angeles after the Trojans began this season with a 1-3 record, but USC has won five consecutive games since then and is still in contention for the Pac-12 South title. A big reason for that: the promotion of redshirt freshman Sam Darnold to starting quarterback, ahead of former Skyline High star Max Browne, who was benched after USC’s first three games. Darnold, listed at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, has completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 1,874 yards and 20 touchdowns with four interceptions in six games as the Trojans’ starter. His average of 8.7 yards per pass attempt ranks 12th in the country. … USC ranks 15th nationally in offensive yards per play with an average of 6.61, and 12th nationally in yards per rush at 5.61 Running backs Ronald Jones II and Justin Davis give the Trojans a strong 1-2 punch, though Davis has been sidelined recently by an ankle sprain. The Los Angeles Times reported that Davis has been cleared to return to practice this week, though it remains to be seen whether he can play Saturday. … USC has several productive receivers, a group led by star junior JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has caught 48 passes for 641 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Darreus Rogers (38 catches, 487 yards, 2 TDs) and Deontay Burnett (31 catches, 329 yards, 4 TDs) are popular targets, too. … USC ranks 39th nationally in yards per play allowed, and 38th in scoring defense. … UW coach Chris Petersen said USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is the best kick returner he’s ever seen. Jackson, who also plays offense occasionally, has two interceptions this season, a punt return for a touchdown and a kick return for a touchdown. … USC’s offensive line includes right tackle Zach Banner, the former Lakes High School star and the son of UW Hall of Fame offensive lineman Lincoln Kennedy.

DID YOU KNOW: Washington has won three of its past five games against the Trojans.


CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (4-5 overall, 2-4 in Pac-12)


COACH: Sonny Dykes (40-43 in seventh year overall; 18-28 in fourth year at Cal)

AGAINST THE COUGARS: California leads the series 46-26-5.

SCOUTING REPORT: Cal has one of the Pac-12’s most dynamic offenses, but the Golden Bears’ defense is so bad that WSU should have no problem scoring a bunch of points. Cal allows 44.4 points per game, and gave up 66 last week to Washington. Only one other FBS team allows more yards per rush than Cal, and only three FBS teams allow more yards per play. … Still, the Cougars will have to contend with Cal quarterback Davis Webb (30 TD passes) and star receiver Chad Hansen, who leads the league in receptions (64) and receiving yards (840). He returned from an ankle injury to catch five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown last week against the Huskies. … The Bears still rank 17th nationally in scoring offense with 39.7 points per game, and they rank 45th nationally in offensive yards per play. … Khalfani Muhammad leads the team in rushing with 648 yards on 101 carries. Tre Watson is right behind him with 513 yards on 100 carries. … The Bears have again sustained several injuries to their defensive backs, which led to UW receivers John Ross and Dante Pettis catching three TD passes apiece this past Saturday.

DID YOU KNOW: Cal is 0-4 on the road this season, and has not allowed fewer than 45 points in any of those losses.

Christian Caple: @ChristianCaple