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UNFILTERED: Fresno State

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A day later, the Trojan Family is still abuzz talking about USC's dominant season opening performance.  Before we move on to Stanford, here is an UNFILTERED look back at the win over Fresno State.


McGillen Galleries: USC 52, Fresno State 13

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The Trojans opened the 2014 season with a commanding win over the Fresno State Bulldogs. From Nelson Agholor's two scores to Bryce Dixon and Adoree' Jackson's first touchdowns of their USC careers, John McGillen captured all of the magic on Saturday. Here are his galleries...

Pregame:

First Half:

Second Half:

Ford Trojan of the Game: Cody Kessler

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Junior QB Cody Kessler was voted the SoCal Ford Dealers Trojan of the Game by the Trojan Family on Twitter and Instagram.  The second-year starter put together a career-best performance with 394 passing yards and 28 rushing yards plus 5 touchdowns.

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Tunnel Vision Wrap: Fresno State

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The Tunnel Vision crew tied a bow on the first win of the Steve Sarkisian era featuring game highlights and locker room sound from freshman Adoree' Jackson.


6-Points: USC 52, Fresno St. 13

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The Steve Sarkisian era begins in style with a blowout victory at the Coliseum.

Click here for the game recap and final stats.

Click here for Steve Sarkisian's press conference with Cody Kessler and Leonard Williams.

As Advertised

FINAL-score.jpgSarkisian warned USC fans to stay in their seat when the offense has the ball because the Trojans are going to play at a breakneck speed.  Well, he was not lying.  USC set a Pac-12 record by running 104 offensive plays tonight.  "I thought the guys really were locked into the game plan," said Sarkisian about the fast start, which included touchdowns on the first three drives.  "They had a really good sense of urgency.  And for the most part, it was pretty clean."

The Point Guard

QB Cody Kessler set a new career-high with 394 yards passing plus 5 touchdowns (4 throwing and 1 running), but his athleticism stood out the most.  While he is not asked to be a true dual threat quarterback, the prep basketball star showed some nimble footwork to extend plays and even pickup 28 rush yards.  However, he could use some help on his sliding.  "I got all over Clay [Helton] and said, 'What are you guys doing in individual when I am not looking?' We've got to work on our quarterback slides, that's for sure," joked Sarkisian, a former baseball player.  "All in all for the first time in this system, I thought he played great."

Baby Boomers

USC bloodied the majority of the true freshmen tonight, but instead of succumbing to opening night nerves, they stole the show.  Adoree' Jackson and Bryce Dixon caught touchdown passes.  Damien Mama, Toa Lobendahn and Viane Talamaivao helped keep Kessler sack-free and paved the way for 268 rush yards (133 by Buck Allen).  The 2014 class appears to be special, but maybe no one more so than JuJu Smith who caught 4 passes for 123 yards, which is more than Marqise Lee, Robert Woods and Nelson Agholor combined in their debuts.  "Walking down the tunnel, I almost shed a tear," said Smith about his pregame emotions.  "I knew what I had to do.  I had to represent the Trojans."

Pick and Pop

Fresno State wanted no part of USC's pass rush, so both Bulldog quarterbacks got rid of the ball as quickly as possible.  The Trojans' defense adjusted by clogging up the passing lanes and forcing four interceptions, including one by All-American DE Leonard Williams, who also had 7 tackles.  "My coaches were telling me to try to beat the cut blocker by getting my hands up, and that's what I tried to do," said Williams, who almost had a second pick.  He was joined in the pick party by LB Anthony Sarao, S Gerald Bowman and LB Michael Hutchings.

Nobody's Perfect

The first quarter was nearly flawless, but coaches are never satisfied.  Sarkisian and his staff will point to two fumbles (Allen and Justin Davis) and a lackadaisical start to the second half as areas of improvement.  The head coach stressed at halftime that the team "come out with the same fire" as they did in the first half, but instead, Fresno State marched right down the field for six.  "That is definitely an area that we need to improve upon because for us to be a great team, we need to be a great second half team," said Sarkisian.

Game On

The Trojans were clearly not looking past Fresno State, but now we can all focus on the Pac-12 opener at Stanford (Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT on ABC), which has become an annual candidate for game of the year. The Cardinal won its opener 45-0 over UC Davis today, and they pose the toughest physical challenge on USC's schedule.  "No partying tonight for me.  I'm just going to get ready for Stanford week," said Williams, who knows the task at hand.  "I'm pretty sure they are going to try to come back with some vengeance this week.  We've just got to make sure all the guys are on board."

Here are the SnappyTV highlights from the season-opening win:


Infographic: USC 52, Fresno State 13

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2014: Fresno State Friday Night Video

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The Steve Sarkisian era begins today and the Trojans are ready to get back to football. #TurnUpSC

Here is the Fresno State Friday Night Video: 

Game Day: USC vs. Fresno State

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Whether you're watching the game inside the Coliseum, on your couch or on the go, the Trojan Family will have no shortage of options to stay connected to everything going on between USC and Fresno State.

First, get your cell phone loaded with the USC GameDay app, which covers all the Coliseum ins and outs, and the TuneIn app, so you can listen to the radio broadcast from start to finish, including the extended two-hour pregame show and two-hour post-game show.

Then, check out USCTrojans.com which turns into GameDay Central every football Saturday featuring our live Tunnel Vision pregame show streamed straight from the Coliseum turf (starting at 3:30 p.m. PT) plus a live chat and GameTracker.  To contribute to the GameDay Central page, tag your Twitter and Instagram posts with #FightOn.

Inside the stadium, the video board will feature fan driven content both pregame using #USCSelfie and during the game with #FightOn.  Also, follow @USC_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram for updates, photos and videos.

For post-game coverage, wait out the traffic to enjoy the Peristyle Post-Game show live at the Coliseum hosted by All-American Shaun Cody and Kelli Tennant.  Plus, return to the RipsIt Blog and all our social media outlets for notes, quotes and a full multimedia blitz.

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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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