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2014 Game 1: USC vs. Fresno State

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Fresno State (0-0) at No. 15 USC Trojans (0-0)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 4:30 p.m. PT on FOX

Bulldog to Watch: Senior FS Derron Smith

Smith-Lee.jpgFor the first time in nearly 100 years, the Trojans are facing the same opponent in back-to-back games, but this version of Fresno State will look different than the high octane outfit led by Derek Carr in last year's Las Vegas Bowl.  The 2014 Bulldogs feature a hard-nosed defense with Smith (pictured) running air traffic control.  He enters the season as the national leader in career interceptions (14), and he is the preseason Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.

Click here for more on the Bulldogs.

3 Keys

Tunnel Vision

USC had a nearly silent Fall Camp until all of the sudden game week sprung a pair of controversies.  Unfortunately, most of these Trojans are all too used to dealing with adversity and turmoil.  But on the flip side, they are pros at blocking out the noise and focusing on the game.  If the Trojans concentrate on the task at hand, they should have the talent advantage to open the Steve Sarkisian era with a victory.

The Big Five

While Fall Camp revealed many answers, the offensive line is still a work in progress particularly on the right side.  LT Chad Wheeler and C Max Tuerk are the veteran stalwarts and freshman LG Toa Lobendahn appears wise beyond his years, but the right side will feature a rotating cast of characters including RG candidates Damien Mama, Khaliel Rodgers and Viane Talamaivao, and RT options Zach Banner, Aundrey Walker and Nathan Guertler.  While Fresno State is a worthy challenger, Stanford's renowned physicality is on the horizon, so the Trojans will want to be a solid fist on "The Farm."

Growing Up Fast

Sarkisian estimated that he will play 10-11 freshmen this season with the hopes of redshirting the rest.  Plus, several redshirt freshmen and transfers will make their Coliseum debuts on Saturday.  The young Trojans have no time to be awed by the bright lights in the big stadium.  On a more veteran team, freshmen like JuJu Smith, Ajene Harris and Adoree' Jackson would be luxury items brought along over time, but these talented teens need to be ready to go from Jump Street.

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Dawn of a New Era

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USC vs. Fresno St. on FOX

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USC will open the 2014 season on FOX against Fresno State, so the Trojan Family across the nation can watch the game. 


FREE Car Wash at USC Games

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Our Helpful Honda friends are helping out the Trojan Family this fall by giving out 100 FREE car washes to participating fans.

Click here to sign-up!

After filling out the form and receiving your confirmation, the car wash is located in Parking Lot 3 off 39th Street and Vermont. Keep an eye out for Helpful SoCal Honda Car Wash signs, or ask a Helpful SoCal Honda Ambassador for directions.

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Z for Zamperini

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USC will honor the late great Louis Zamperini all season long by placing a Z sticker on the back of the football helmet.

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On-Campus Trojan Game Day Experience

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Fans descending upon campus this Saturday to enjoy the pregame festivities should check out the university's new website, which describes family-friendly activities, dining options, tailgating procedures and traffic and parking updates.

Click here to see the new site.

The university has carved out an area on-campus for the Trojan Game Day Experience, which is free and open to the public in Alumni Park. With the themes of "Enjoy Responsibly, Feast On Safely and Celebrate Courteously," the University aims to keep the campus a safe, welcoming and enjoyable environment for all who visit on football game days.

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Pac-12 Previews USC

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Pac-12 Networks was here last week previewing the Trojans' 2014 season, and they unlocked that digital content today so everyone can watch it.

Click here to see the show.

Plus, the conference network previewed USC's season opener against Fresno State, which you can watch below.


Fresno State Thursday: Sark Presser

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Thursday practices are closed to the media this season, but there was little to no football talk today anyway when Steve Sarkisian held his morning press conference.


The Day Before, The Day Before

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Josh Shaw Admits to USC Officials That He Lied

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Here is the official statement from the USC Athletic Department on Josh Shaw:

USC senior cornerback Josh Shaw came to USC athletic department officials this afternoon (Wednesday, Aug. 27) and admitted that he had lied about how he suffered his ankle injuries over the weekend.

He said that the story he told of rescuing his nephew in a pool in Palmdale, Calif., was a complete fabrication.  He apologized for misleading his coaches, teammates, athletic department officials and the public.

"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," said USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian.  "He let us all down.  As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story.

"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized.  Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable.  Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program.  I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."

Sarkisian said that Shaw has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities.

Shaw has retained Donald Etra as legal counsel.  Etra will issue a statement on Shaw's behalf soon.

USC regrets the posting of the initial story on Monday (Aug. 25).