The USC Trojans offense was dominant last weekend in a 41-28 victory over PAC-12 rival Stanford Cardinal. Caleb Williams threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns, Travis Dye rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown, and Jordan Addison tallied 172 receiving yards and one touchdown.
USC went from 10th to seventh in the AP Poll ahead of a matchup against another in-state rival. The Fresno State Bulldogs will make the four-hour drive down to the LA Memorial Coliseum to take on the Trojans.
The Bulldogs are 1-1 on the season after losing 35-32 to Oregon State in Week 2. Can the Lincoln Riley-era continue rolling in Los Angeles?
Fresno State Bulldogs at USC Trojans
- Kickoff time: Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. PT
- TV Network: FOX
- Streaming: FOX Sports app
- Spread: USC -12.5
- Total: 74
USC earns highest ranking since 2017
The last time the Trojans were ranked as high as seventh was in 2017 when USC was fourth in the AP preseason poll.
The offense is the heartbeat of the Trojans this season. Through two games, they’ve averaged 53.5 points per game. This is tied with Michigan and James Madison for the highest mark in the NCAA this season.
Another player who had a big game against Stanford was Mario Williams, who used his speed and agility to catch four passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Williams averaged 18.5 yards per reception.
Could rushing defense be a problem for USC?
The Trojans did an excellent job limiting Stanford QB Tanner McKee in the passing game. McKee threw for 220 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Stanford’s rushing attack, on the other hand, was quite effective. E.J. Smith, son of Dallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith, rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown. Casey Filkins rushed for 77 yards and a score, and Benjamin Yurosek busted one carry for 50 yards. In total, Stanford gained 221 yards on the ground.
Fresno State doesn’t boast the same talent at running back that Stanford does, but the Bulldogs have posted solid rushing stats through its first two games of the season.
The Bulldogs have averaged 152 rushing yards per game this season. Fresno State’s leading back is Jordan Mims, who has 195 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the year.
Limiting Mims will be crucial for the Trojans on Saturday night.
The Trojans hold an all-time record of 3-1 against the Bulldogs. USC has won the last three straight matchups against Fresno State, and the only loss came in 1992.
That record will improve to 4-1 after Week 3. USC’s offense will overwhelm Fresno State’s defense. The Bulldogs have held opponents to just 215 passing yards per game this season. But that was against Cal Poly and Oregon State. The Bulldogs will struggle to stifle Williams and USC’s aerial attack.
The Trojans win 38-21, moving to 3-0 on the season.