USC vs. Fresno State - Game Notes

    Aug. 31, 2014

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    USC improves to 17-8-1 when playing its first game under a new head coach (which includes interim head coach debuts by Ed Orgeron and Clay Helton last year). USC's last six head coaches of Paul Hackett (1998), Pete Carroll (2001), Lane Kiffin (2010), Orgeron (2013), Helton (2013) and Sarkisian (2014) won their debuts.

    USC improves to 2-1 vs. Fresno State (not including vacated win from 2005).

    USC has won its last 16 openers. Its last loss to start the season was in 1997 to Florida State (14-7). USC's 16-game winning streak in openers is tied for the third-longest active streak in the FBS with Wisconsin (playing tonight). Only Nebraska (29) and Florida (24) have longer streaks.

    * With OGs Toa Lobendahn and Damien Mama starting today, it marks the first time in the post-World War II era (when records became available) that two USC first-year freshmen started an opener on the offensive line. Prior to today, only three Trojan true freshmen started openers in the modern era (Brad Budde at guard in 1976, Travis Claridge at guard in 1996 and Kristofer O'Dowd at center in 2007). The last USC true freshman to start on the offensive line was current center Max Tuerk, who started the final six games of the 2012 season, the first five at tackle, the last at guard. The only other time in the modern era that a pair of first-year freshmen started on the o-line was in 1996 when Claridge and Faaesea Mailo did so in 3 games.

    USC played today with 57 available recruited scholarship players. Troy had 44 in its previous game, also against FSU.

    USC's 704 total yards was its most since registering 745 vs. Washington State in 2005. Its 37 first downs were its most since getting 40 in the same game.

    USC set a Pac-12 record by running 105 offensive plays today. The previous conference record was 103 set by Arizona vs. Stanford in 2012, a one overtime game. The NCAA record for plays in a game is 115 done three times: by Northwestern in 2009, by Houston in 2012 and by BYU in 2013.

    True freshman Adoree' Jackson played both receiver and cornerback today, becoming the first Trojan to play on both sides of the ball since last season when Kevin Greene did at tight end and outside linebacker.

    QB Cody Kessler set a career high for passing yards (394) and tied his career highs for touchdown passes (four) and completions (25) and attempts (37). He threw for 309 yards on 21-of-30 passing in the first half. The last USC QB to throw for over 300 yards in a first half was Matt Barkley in 2012, who completed 17-of-26 passes for 303 yards with three TDs against Oregon. The previous game, Barkley completed 21-of-29 passes in the first half at Arizona for 321 yards and two scores. Kessler has now thrown at least one TD pass in 8 straight games and has thrown at least two TDs seven times. In two games against Fresno State, he combined for 47-of-67 passing for 739 yards.

    For the second year in a row, Kessler scored USC's first home touchdown on a run. Last year was 4 yards, this year 1.

    WR Nelson Agholor's first multi-TD reception game came against Fresno State in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl with two and he followed it up with two more today. He had five catches for 57 yards.

    Fr. WR JuJu Smith opened his career with 4 receptions for 123 yards, including receptions of 43 and 53 yards.

    USC gained 243 first-quarter yards to go with its 21-0 lead. USC's 21 first-quarter points matched its most points scored in a quarter last year. USC scored 21 at Cal in the first quarter and 21 against the Bulldogs in the second quarter in Vegas. USC had 426 total yards in the first half.

    USC Jr. RB Javorius Allen led USC with 133 yards on 22 carries, the fifth time he's gained at least 100 yards, all within the last seven games.

    Freshman tight end Bryce Dixon caught a 22-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, his first career catch as a Trojan.

    Jr. FB Soma Vainuku's 11-yard third-quarter touchdown scamper was his second career TD run.

    USC had 11 true freshmen play today, including Lobendahn, Mama, fellow OL Viane Talamaivao, Smith, WR Ajene Harris, WR/CB Jackson, Dixon, LB Uchenna Nwosu, LB Olajwon Tucker, CB Jonathan Lockett, S-CB John Plattenburg. Junior DT transfers Claude Pelon (a starter) and Delvon Simmons also played. Other Trojans seeing their first action included redshirt freshmen Chris Hawkins (CB), Matt Lopes (FS), Joel Foy (LB), James Toland IV (TB), Max Browne (QB), Steven Mitchell (WR).

    USC's 24 unanswered points to start the game was its most since scoring the first 28 points against Boston College last year.

    Sr. Safety Gerald Bowman collected his second career interception in the second quarter. His first came against Colorado in 2012. Jr. DE Leonard Williams had his second career interception, also in the second quarter. Jr. LB Anthony Sarao's third-quarter interception was the first of his career, as was Michael Hutching's fourth-quarter interception.

    USC and Fresno State's consecutive games (after meeting in last year's Las Vegas Bowl) marks Troy's first back-to-back contests against the same team since ending the 1916 season against Arizona and opening against the Wildcats in 1917.

    Rs.-Fr. QB Max Browne played in his first game as a Trojan and was 4-for-5 for 40 yards and ran 3 times for 10 yards.

    USC had 10 different receivers make a catch tonight, its most since also having 10 make a grab in the 2012 opener vs. Hawai'i.