There are a lot of match-ups in Saturday's Syracuse-USC game that will have serious impacts on the final score. Ryan Nassib vs. USC Secondary. The SU offensive line vs. USC d-line. Otto the Orange vs. USC Mascot's sword. Syracuse vs. 101 traffic.
Perhaps no player vs. player match-up is going to be more important than the battle between USC wide receiver Robert Woods and Syracuse DB Keon Lyn.
The sophomore has gone from the top of the spring depth chart to losing his starting nod due to a shoulder injury to being thrust back into the starting line-up due to Ri'Shard Anderson's injury and will now line-up against one of the top receivers in the nation, who by the way, is the No. 1 target of USC QB Matt Barkley.
He's a long-armed kid, he can really run well. He's been in big games even though some of them were in high school. I remember when he played Miami Central when he was at Miramar. Those are the two best teams in the state of Florida at 6A, and he played lights out. So we're hoping he can bring that style of play, that big-game atmosphere and that challenge to put him on the best receiver.
Woods is currently tied for the most catches in the nation with 25. You're reading that correctly. 25 grabs in two games.
Lyn said he will follow Woods all over the field unless he moves into the slot. And he won't have help from the rest of the secondary.
"It's a great opportunity," Lyn said. "The coaches have trust in a young corner like me. It's a wonderful thing. We're just looking to do something different with me attacking Robert Woods."
For his part, Woods isn't looking at the fact that Syracuse had one of the top statistical defenses in the nation last year as anything to worry about.
"That was last year’s defense so got to let that go," Woods said. "This year, we just got to attack them in the run game, in the air and perform like a top offense."
"Just getting right back at it and being ready for whatever they throw at us," Woods said. "They play a lot of press. We just got to be ready for quick releases and explosive plays."
Keon could basically cement his status in the starting secondary with a solid performance here. It's going to be exciting to watch.