USC Football Goes To Arizona State Seeking First Pac-12 Win|
Sept. 22, 2013
USC goes on the road after a 3-game homestand looking for its first Pac-12 win of 2013 when it visits South Division foe Arizona State under the lights. Six of USC's 10 losses in its series with the Sun Devils have occurred in Tempe, including in its last trip there. After this game, the Trojans have a bye next week before hosting a Thursday night game. The trip to ASU is a homecoming for a number of Arizona Trojans, including OLB Devon Kennard and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. Those two, along with the likes of OLB Morgan Breslin (the 2012 Hendricks Award finalist who leads the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss), DEs Leonard Williams and George Uko, LB Hayes Pullard , S Dion Bailey and S-CB Josh Shaw, have been instrumental in USC's staunch defensive effort this season, which has been quite an about-face from last year. Troy leads the nation in red zone defense, is second in tackles for a loss, third in rushing defense, fourth in total defense and sacks, 11th in scoring defense and 12th in pass efficiency defense. USC is allowing just 230 total yards a game (no opponent has eclipsed 300 yards yet), including only 59 on the ground, and just 11 points per outing. The Trojans average 4 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss each game. USC hasn't surrendered a point yet in the first quarter (and just 7 in the third quarter) and its first-string defense hadn't given up a TD until last week. The Trojan offense, however, is still trying to find itself and develop consistency, as evidenced by its showing in last weekend's 17-14 win over pesky Utah State. However, the running attack remains strong behind TB Tre Madden, who had his streak snapped (barely) of consecutive 100-yard rushing games that had put him among some elite USC runners. WR Marqise Lee, the 2012 unanimous All-American and Biletnikoff Award winner who is third on USC's all-time receptions list, is on the verge of setting the school's career receiving yardage record. After winning its first 2 games of 2013, head coach Todd Graham's Arizona State squad fought back from a 29-0 halftime deficit at Stanford last weekend and rallied mightily before falling 42-28. QB Taylor Kelly directs an ASU offense that is eighth nationally in passing offense (he is ninth in total offense). RB Marion Grice currently tops the country in scoring (16.0) and is 20th in all-purpose running, while WR Jaelen Strong is in the national Top 10 in receptions and receiving yards. The Sun Devil defense features last year's Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, DT Will Sutton, and he is joined by the likes of LB Carl Bradford and CB Osahon Irabor. The game will be shown live on ESPN2. USC's 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. The USC women's soccer team will be in Tempe on Sunday to face ASU.