<
>

What to watch: Arizona State at USC

Arizona State travels to Los Angeles hoping to avenge a 42-14 loss to USC from last season and build on an impressive 4-0 start to the year, while the Trojans will try to avoid their first 1-4 start since 2001.

Here are some things to watch Saturday at the Coliseum:

Is the fourth with them? Forget the first 45 minutes. Can USC survive Arizona State in the fourth quarter? Heading into this week’s game, ASU is averaging more fourth-quarter points vs. FBS competition (21.7) than any other FBS team. Last week, they had 31 points in the fourth in a win over California. On the other side of the ball, the Sun Devils have forced all five of their turnovers in the fourth quarter. In fact, in 16 fourth-quarter drives, the Sun Devils defense has five turnovers and five three-and-outs. It's noteworthy that USC gave up a fourth-quarter lead in last week’s final-minute loss to Utah.

Record-breaking week? Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzales is on the precipice of a couple of NCAA FBS records. He needs just four field goals to tie the career record of 88 held by Dustin Hopkins. He’s also chasing Hopkins’ record of 466 career points by a kicker. Gonzalez enters the game with 439 career points -- 27 shy of Hopkins.

Red zone matters: So far this year, the Sun Devils are a perfect 18 of 18 in scoring when they get inside their opponent's 20-yard line. ASU is one of just 14 teams that have come away with points every time it reaches the red zone. Of those 18 trips, ASU has been able to punch it in for a touchdown on the ground 13 times. USC is 11 of 13 on red zone opportunities. Interestingly enough, the teams are tied for ninth in the conference in red zone defense, each allowing the other team to score on 12 of 13 chances.

Vegas knows? As of Thursday evening, USC was a 10-point favorite over the Sun Devils, which is an interesting number when factoring in the teams’ average point margin per game. The difficulty in their schedules to this point isn’t remotely comparable, but ASU, with the much easier schedule, has averaged 14.5 more points per game than its opponents, which ranks No. 4 in the Pac-12. USC, meanwhile, is the only team in the conference that has been outscored over the totality of the season -- its average point margin is minus-7.25.

To kick or not to kick to Adoree’: USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson figures to get some time on offense this week -- look for him to be in on about 6-8 snaps -- but he could provide a bigger impact on special teams. To this point, he’s been arguably the most dangerous return man in college football. He’s one of two players in the country -- the only being Rutgers’ Janarion Grant -- to return both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown this year. That’s come on a total of just nine returns (seven kickoffs, two punts).