USC Football Hosts Washington State In Home And Pac-12 Opener
Sep 1, 2013
USC, which has won 70% of its conference games, opens 2013 Pac-10 play by hosting Washington State, a team it hasn't faced since 2010 due to the Pac-12 scheduling rotation. It has been a decade since the Trojans last lost to WSU and overall they have won 80% of their games against the Cougars, who have been victorious just 3 times in Los Angeles since 1941. It is also the home opener for Troy and the first of 3 straight USC games in the Coliseum. This is the 90th anniversary of USC's first season playing football in the historic stadium and it is the first Trojan game there since an agreement this summer allowed USC to operate and renovate the Coliseum. Troy opened with a nice win last week at Hawaii, as the defense looked outstanding while the offense took a while to get untracked. USC is led by 2012 unanimous All-American and Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee, who grabbed 8 passes in Hawaii but had several key drops. The Trojans used 2 young quarterbacks last week, QBs Cody Kessler and Max Wittek. USC's ground attack showed flashes behind the running of TBs Tre Madden (109 yards) and Justin Davis. But most impressive was the play of the Trojan defense, employing the 5-2 scheme of new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. USC notched 4 interceptions and 7 sacks and limited the Rainbow Warriors to 231 total yards (just 23 on the ground). That performance vaulted the Trojans into the national Top 10 in sacks, interceptions, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense and turnover margin. Key USC defenders include S-CB Josh Shaw (he had a scoring interception last week), S Dion Bailey, LB Hayes Pullard, OLB Devon Kennard and DEs Leonard Williams and George Uko. Head coach Mike Leach's Washington State squad, coming off a 7-point opening loss at Auburn, features a wide-open aerial offensive attack (the Cougars are 15th nationally in passing offense) directed by QB Connor Halliday, who has 25 career TD passes and is 13th nationally in both passing yards and total offense (he threw 65 passes last week). His top target so far has been WR Gabe Marks (16th nationally in receptions), while 2012's leading pass catcher (WR Brett Bartolone) is among 6 of WSU's top 7 receivers back from last fall. S Deone Bucannon led WSU in tackles and interceptions last season and is currently is ninth nationally in stops. The game will be shown live on the new FOX Sports 1 cable network, the first time that USC has appeared on their air. As part of USC's 125th anniversary of athletics celebration (dating to the first football game in 1888), football alumni will be honored on the field during the game.