Junior quarterback Jacob Eason has made a strong first impression after transferring from Georgia. (Photo courtesy of Conor Courtney / The Daily of the University of Washington) DT: How much do you think it matters that Washington decisively defeated BYU 45-19 while USC lost to the Cougars in overtime? JK: I think it’ll make a much bigger difference for Fink just because he’s the one that’s going to have to deal with the noise at Husky Stadium. This is Eason’s offense to run, and there haven’t really been any growing pains for Washington. He came in with experience playing in the SEC, and he’s got games at home and on the road under his belt this season. I haven’t seen any reason to believe he’s not completely comfortable with the offense and the environment here. Kirshenbaum: This secondary is pretty young and new, but so far this season it has stepped up to every challenge presented. Despite so much turnover from last season — with three starters drafted and a fourth graduated — I’d say the strength of the group is its depth. Putting six defensive backs on the field has become almost the new normal for [defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach] Jimmy Lake; Washington did it pretty much all game against Hawaii’s run-and-shoot offense, and I could see something similar happening Saturday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar to Washington’s performance against BYU last weekend, where the Cougars had a few shots connect downfield but also had a lot of trouble getting anything done once the field shortened. JK: To start with an easy one, it’s probably junior tailback Salvon Ahmed, just on the basis that he missed the BYU game with a lingering leg injury, and if he’s back, the UW offense goes to a whole new level. Beyond injury developments, I’d say it’s junior tight end Hunter Bryant. He’s probably the most physically gifted option in the UW passing game, and through four weeks he’s quickly become Eason’s go-to option, especially on third downs. Through four games, he’s leading the Huskies with 285 receiving yards, and he’s going to present a matchup problem for pretty much anyone USC puts on him. DT: What is your score prediction and why? DT: With junior quarterback Jacob Eason as well as a talented group of running backs, Washington appears to have a good offensive balance. Do you think the Huskies will rely more heavily on the pass or the run against USC? DT: Eason and USC redshirt junior quarterback Matt Fink are both fairly new to the starting role. How do you think this will factor into their performance in this high-profile matchup? JK: This one’s tough to predict, just because I think so much of the outcome is going to be determined by what happens in the first 10 minutes or so. I’ve thought Washington was going to be in close games each of the past two weeks, and then the Huskies have dominated the first quarter en route to blowouts. I could definitely see this game getting out of hand early. Then again, I could also see USC keeping it close and staying within punching distance into the fourth quarter. I think the second option is a little more likely, but Washington ends up with just enough of a run to emerge with a 33-23 win. After upsetting then-No. 10 Utah last Friday, the No. 21 Trojans face another tough opponent Saturday in No. 17 Washington. The Daily Trojan spoke with the Daily UW managing editor Josh Kirshenbaum to get his insight on the upcoming game. JK: I think the main difference between those two games is how they started. Washington opened last weekend with a 21-point haymaker in the first quarter, while USC found itself in a close game early. Slow starts have been a problem for Washington in recent years, and when opponents can slow down and shorten games and keep it close into the second half, upsets tend to happen (see: Cal in the last two meetings). The fact that the Huskies are getting out to such fast starts, especially on offense, has been one of the most promising developments of this year’s team. That was the difference last weekend, and if Washington can do it this Saturday, it could be again this game. Daily Trojan: USC’s wide receivers dominated a supposedly strong Utah defense last weekend. How do you think Washington’s secondary will match up with USC’s talented receiving corps? DT: Which player do you think will be the biggest X factor for Washington in Saturday’s game? JK: UW’s offense has generally skewed run-heavy, but this iteration may be the most balanced I’ve seen in awhile, or at least since 2016. Last weekend, Washington ran 39 run plays and 28 pass plays, and I’d guess that’s about the balance [head coach] Chris Petersen wants. The key to that on Saturday is going to be getting good yardage on first down. Washington, more than any team I’ve watched, suffers when it’s forced into obvious passing situations. As long as it can stay more balanced, I think the UW offense can have another good game.