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ASU Football Opponent Primer: USC Trojans

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Week one

NCAA Football: Southern California at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

ASU’s 2020 Schedule

Nov. 7: @ USC

Nov. 14: vs. Cal

Nov. 21: @ Colorado

Nov. 28: Utah

Dec 5: UCLA

Dec 11: @ Arizona

USC’s 2019 Season

After USC sophomore quarterback J.T. Daniels got injured, freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis stepped in and led the Trojans to an 8-5 season (7-2 in the Pac-12).

One of the highlights for USC was defeating No. 10 Utah at home while unranked. However, they fell 49-24 in the Holiday Bowl against No. 16 Iowa.

Head coach Clay Helton is heading into his fourth season with the team and has a lot to prove. The Trojans defeated the Sun Devils in Tempe, 31-26, last season in Joey Yellen’s lone start while Jayden Daniels was out due to injury.

Key Returners

As stated earlier, Slovis took over at quarterback for Daniels last season and made a name for himself.

Slovis, who is also an Arizona native out of Desert Mountain High School, is the biggest returner for the Trojans this season, as he threw for 3,502 yards, 30 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. He had a 72 percent completion percentage. Daniels transferred to Georgia, which leaves the starting position to Slovis with no question.

Wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. headed to the NFL, but coming in right behind him is returner Amon-Ra St. Brown, who could be even better. Last season he hauled in 77 catches for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns.

Biggest Losses

Defensive tackle Jay Tufele opted out of the 2020 season and declared for the NFL draft. Tufele started all 13 games last year and finished with 41 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He was named the team’s defensive lineman of the year. The Trojans will also be without offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, who was another player that opted out to prepare for the draft.

Reason Why ASU Could Win

ASU has new coordinators on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, which could give them an advantage to come out with some new things against USC, leaving them guessing.

Jayden Daniels is coming off a stellar freshman campaign, and has no sight of slowing down. Will he be able to overcome the Trojan defense? We will find out with Zak Hill’s brand new offense.

Reason Why ASU Could Lose

The defense for USC was a major reason why they didn’t see more success last season. However, things will be different for the Trojans this year as 12 of the 13 top tacklers for the team are returning, which could give the Sun Devils trouble.

Like ASU, they also have a new defensive coordinator, Todd Orlando. If things are clicking on both sides of the ball for the Trojans, it could be a difficult task for the Sun Devils.