In what may end up being one of the more entertaining Pac-12 games of the weekend, the Utah State Aggies will take on the USC Trojans at 12:30 p.m. (Pacific Time). Depending on where you live, the game can be seen on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2. Yay options! Here’s a look at all the important things you need to know about the game in order to impress your friends and lovers.
How important is this game for the Trojans?
Very important. After last year’s disastrous campaign, the Trojans needed to rebound in 2013, but so far they’ve looked like a middle-of-the-Pac (ba-dum-cha!) team at best. Despite playing well against Boston College, the ugliness of USC’s 10-7 loss to the Washington State Cougars will be hard for fans to forget.
The USC defense is good though, right?
Yes, the defense has been the one bright spot for the Trojans this year. The USC D is second in the nation in terms of rushing defense, allowing only 43.7 yards per game. They’re also fourth in total defense, relenting a mere 212.3 yards per game. They’ll definitely need to maintain that level of play against Utah State; Chuckie Keeton is coming to town!
Chuckie Keeton? He’s kinda a big deal, right?
Oh yes! Keeton is completing 78.1% of his passes this year and is tied with Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion for the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in the nation (12:1). He’s also leads the Aggies in rushing, having gained 187 yards on the this year on an impressive 6.7 yards per carry.
How has USC quarterback Cody Kessler looked this year?
After winning one of the most scrutinized quarterback competitions in the country this off-season, Kessler hasn’t been overly impressive in USC’s first three games. He’s completing 67.3% of his passes and has almost as many interceptions (2) as touchdowns (3). However, things seemed to click against Boston College last week. Kessler was 15-of-17 passing for 237 yards (he’d only thrown for 136 yards COMBINED in the first two games of the year).
Okay, who else is worth watching on USC?
Besides the great defense, I’d keep an eye on sophomore running back Tre Madden. Though he only has one touchdown on the season, Madden’s 120 rushing yards per game has him in the top-20 nationally. He’s also the first USC running back since Marcus Allen in 1981 to rush for 100 yards in the first three games of a season. Strong performances from Madden and freshman Justin Davis could help relieve Kessler of some of the pressure he’s under.