USC Football Hosts Utah State In 2016 Home Opener|
Sept. 4, 2016
After dropping its season opener in record fashion to No. 1 Alabama in Dallas, USC looks to regroup as it now hosts Utah State of the Mountain West Conference in its 2016 home opener. It is the earliest kickoff (11 a.m.) for a Trojan home game since at least the early 1950s. It is the only September home contest for the Trojans, who face the nation’s toughest schedule. Troy has never lost to the Aggies, winning by an average of 37 points (although the most recent game in 2013 was a nail-biter). USC also is near-spotless against current Mountain West Conference foes. Marcus Allen Bobbleheads and 2016 USC Football Schedule Posters will be given out to fans. For the first time since 1979, USC is sharing the Coliseum with the NFL’s Rams. Fans should be aware of a number of new security policies at the Coliseum, including clear bags and metal detectors, as well as more limited tailgate areas due to construction around the stadium. Coach Clay Helton’s Trojans are led offensively by new QB Max Browne, TBs Ronald Jones II and Justin Davis (who both approached 1,000 rushing yards last fall), Biletnikoff Award candidate WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and All-American nominee OT Zach Banner. Defensive headliners include triple threat CB-WR-RET Adoree’ Jackson, along with a pair of 2015 Freshman All-Americans in ILB Cameron Smith and CB Iman Marshall (he already has 4 career picks). Utah State opened with a 39-point win last Thursday over FCS opponent Weber State. The Aggies have played in a school-record 5 consecutive bowls, including the past 4 under coach Matt Wells. USU’s offense is guided by dual threat QB Kent Myers (11 wins as a starter), who once rushed for 191 yards in a game. Joining him in the run attack are RBs Devante Mays and LaJuan Hunt, the team’s top rushers in 2015 and 2014, respectively. Key receivers are TE Wyatt Houston and WR Andrew Rodriguez. Three seniors--OTs Austin Albrecht and Jake Simonich and C Austin Stephens--anchor the offensive line. Only 3 starters from return from a defense that was in the national Top 45 in 10 categories last fall: DBs Jalen Davis and Devin Centers and DE Ricky Ali’ifua. The game will be shown live on Pac-12 Network. USC’s women’s soccer and men’s water polo teams also have home games this weekend.