Despite a big matchup with Washington on the horizon, No. 18 USC looked calm and collected in its final practice Thursday before Saturday’s highly anticipated Pac-12 matchup. Despite the calm, freshman tailback Amir Carlisle remains excited to be playing in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
“I was told that this game was also sold out,” Carlisle said. “So, you know, it’s going to be a great atmosphere. We have great fans.”
Carlisle, who hails from Santa Clara, Calif., had 10 carries for 90 yards against Colorado last week and has relished the chance to perform with injuries to the other tailbacks.
“Going into the game, I didn’t know if I was going to play or not,” Carlisle said. “It happened that [junior tailback] Curtis [McNeal] came out and the opportunity presented itself and I got out there and made the most of it. The line did a great job, and I got out there and played. And it felt great.”
The Huskies, coming off of a 34-17 loss to No. 6 Oregon, have gotten the best of the Trojans in the last two seasons, including a win at the Coliseum last season. They feature star tailback Chris Polk and quarterback Keith Price, and they are led by tackle Alameda Ta’amu on defense. Carlisle is aware that the Huskies present a difficult challenge, despite the fact they have lost three games.
“They’re a great team,” Carlisle said. “Great coach, and a good offense. And they have a really good defense and they’re great on special teams. We gotta bring our “A“ game. We can’t take this team lightly.”
The Trojans racked up 561 yards of offense against Colorado, and only gave up 17 points. Junior quarterback Matt Barkley set the USC single-game record for touchdown passes with six while throwing for 318 yards. Freshman Marqise Lee had 124 yards receiving while sophomore Robert Woods had 130 yards of his own.
Washington, however, figures to be a greater test, as they average close to 34 points a game. The Trojans are confident that if they play their game, they will have a good chance of improving their record to 8-2.
“We just gotta go out there and play a great game,” Carlisle said. “Play as a unit, just focus on our game plan and, you know, just gotta get the job done.”