No. 19 USC Football Goes To Arizona State For First Road Trip Of 2015|
Sept. 20, 2015
After a 3-game season-opening homestand, No. 19 USC takes to the road for the first time in 2015 when it visits Arizona State under the lights on ESPN. Troy has dropped 3 of its last 4 games against the Sun Devils, including last year’s stunner on an end-of-game Hail Mary. Tempe is always a challenging destination for USC, as 7 of its 12 losses in the series have occurred there. The Trojans will be looking to rebound from last week’s Pac-12 opening defeat to Stanford, its fifth loss in its past 8 Pac-12 openers. This is a Pac-12 South Division battle between a pair of teams who not only have similar colors, but who have already unexpectedly lost once in their first 3 contests in 2015. The Trojans’ high-flying offense (averaging nearly 50 points and 560 yards) features third-year QB Cody Kessler, a 2015 Heisman Trophy candidate who is in the Top 3 nationally in completion percentage (78.7%), passing TDs (10) and passing efficiency (he has not thrown a pick in his last 101 aerials). Biletnikoff Award candidate WR JuJu Smith-Schuster ranks in the national Top 10 in receiving yards, receiving TDs and receptions. The Trojan rushing corps (averaging 6.4 yards per carry) includes veteran TBs Tre Madden and Justin Davis plus some promising youngsters. Rimington Trophy candidate C Max Tuerk anchors USC’s O-line. The USC defense, which had a pedestrian outing against Stanford after a pair of stellar performances to open 2015, features Butkus nominee OLB Su’a Cravens and exciting CB-WR-RET Adoree’ Jackson, who is up for some national awards. So far, 15 true freshmen have seen action for the Trojans. Head coach Todd Graham’s Arizona State club, which dropped its opener on the road to Texas A&M, began a 3-game homestand by bouncing back with home victories over Cal Poly and last Friday versus New Mexico. With efficient QB Mike Bercovici at the offensive controls, ASU calls often on WR D.J. Foster, who tops the team in pass catching and also is a threat on the ground. He has 4,184 career all-purpose yards, has a reception in the past 43 games and is about to become just the fourth player in NCAA history with at least 2,000 career yards rushing and receiving. RB Demario Richard is ASU’s leading runner (he’s in the nation’s Top 20 all-purpose runner) and other key offensive performers are UCLA transfer WR Devin Lucien and multi-threat RB De’Chavon Hayes. The Sun Devil defense, Top 10 nationally (and best in the Pac-12) in pass defense and tackles for loss, features LB Christian Sam, 20th nationally in sacks, along with DB Jordan Simone and LB Viliami Moeakiola, both 19th nationally in tackles for loss. The Trojan coaches will join their peers nationwide by wearing Coach to Cure MD logo patches during the game to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne muscular dystrophy research.