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ASU Football Opponent Primer: USC Trojans

Can the Sun Devils steal a victory against the Trojans for the first time since the Jael Mary?

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State 2018 Schedule

UTSA (Sept. 1) - Read

Michigan State (Sept. 8) - Read

At San Diego State (Sept. 15) - Read

At Washington (Sept. 22) - Read

Oregon State (Sept. 29) - Read

At Colorado (Oct. 6) - Read

Stanford (Oct. 18) - Read

At USC (Oct. 27)

Utah (Nov. 3)

UCLA (Nov. 10)

At Oregon (Nov. 17)

At Arizona (Nov. 24)

USC’s 2017 Season

The Trojans got off to a 4-0 start to their season before an unexpected 27-30 loss to Washington State. USC won its next two games before getting walloped by Notre Dame in South Bend. The Trojans went on a five game winning streak before losing to Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.

Key Returners

RB Stephen Carr - Carr was a key contributor for USC in the ground game and through the air. With 363 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns along with 188 receiving yards. He was also voted 2017 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention.

WR Tyler Vaughns - Vaughns adds much needed experience to the Trojans receiving corps. He had 809 yards on 57 receptions, and five touchdowns in his freshman campaign.

WR Michael Pittman Jr. - Pittman Jr. will not only add experience to the receivers, but he will return as one of USC’s most valuable assets on special teams. As a sophomore he caught 23 passes for 404 yards, and two scores. He also made six tackles, blocked a punt, and returned a punt for a touchdown in 2017.

Key Departures

QB Sam Darnold - One of the most touted quarterbacks heading into 2017, Darnold did not start his season as he had hoped, throwing nine touchdowns with eight interceptions. However Darnold managed to turn his season around and ended the season with 4,143 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, while completing 63.1% of his passes. Darnold was selected third overall by the New York Jets this past April.

RB Ronald Jones II - Jones was the leading rusher for the Trojans in 2017. He finished his junior campaign with 1,550 yards on 261 carries, and 19 touchdowns. Jones was selected in the second round (38th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

WR Deontay Burnett - Burnett led the USC receiving corps with 1114 receiving yards on 86 catches, and nine touchdowns.

ASU has the edge

ASU will have to take advantage of USC’s inexperienced quarterback play. ASU will also have an experienced secondary and a veteran defensive line. The Sun Devils have a lot of weapons returning on offense and if Manny Wilkins and N’Keal Harry hook up for multiple scores then ASU will have a great shot to win this game.

ASU is at a disadvantage

The Trojans will have a lot of offensive weapons returning along with a majority of their defensive lineup returning as well. ASU will have to make the most of their possessions on offense. If Manny doesn’t play a flawless game and ASU isn’t able to get Eno Benjamin going in the run game then it will be a long game for the Sun Devils.