USC Football Travels To Arizona State For Saturday Night Clash
*USC begins the final month of the regular season when it travels to South Division foe Arizona State. The contest will be televised under the lights on ESPN.
*It's the start of a 2-game road trip for the Trojans, the longest journey for USC in 2021.
*USC, needing 2 more wins to get bowl eligible, will be without one of the nation's premier players the rest of 2021 as All-American candidate and leading Biletnikoff Award nominee Drake London broke his ankle while catching a TD against Arizona this past weekend. He was on pace to set Troy's season receptions and receiving yardage records (he has 88 catches for 1,084 yards). So interim head coach Donte Williams will have to rely on others in the Trojan receiving corps--including productive WRs Tahj Washington and Gary Bryant Jr. — to step up. USC's run game — behind TB Keaontay Ingram, who has back-to-back 100-yard rushing outings, including a career-best 204 yards versus Arizona — has become more dominant recently. QB Kedon Slovis remains a steady force while leading the offense (he is on pace to set the school career mark for best completion percentage), while true freshman QB Jaxson Dart has returned from injury and played well in his opportunities against UA (he threw 2 TDs). The Trojan defense is looking to tighten up after allowing 450-plus total yards to Arizona. ILB Kana'i Mauga and S Chase Williams top USC in tackles, while OLB Drake Jackson and DL Tuli Tuipulotu have been frequently in the opponents' backfield.
*Sun Devil Stadium will be a familiar sight for the 7 Trojans (including Slovis and Pola-Mao) who grew up near the campus, while USC's cardinal-and-gold uniforms will be familiar to DB Jack Jones, a former Trojan who now suits up for ASU.
*Head coach Herm Edwards' Arizona State team remains in contention for the Pac-12 South title despite its loss Saturday at home to Washington State. The ASU offense is directed by multi-threat QB Jayden Daniels), who is 20th nationally in completion percentage, RB Rachaad White is within 100 yards of joining Daniels as a career 1,000-yard rusher and also is among the team leaders in receptions, along with WRs Ricky Pearsall and LV Bunkley-Shelton. C Dohnovan West made the 2020 All-Pac-12 first team. ASU's defense ranks high in the NCAA Top 25 in interceptions, tackles for loss and pass efficiency defense. LB Darien Butler tops ASU in tackles and is 13th in the nation in interceptions, while LB Kyle Soelle also has made an impact.
*USC's men's and women's swim teams and women's tennis squad also will be in action at ASU Saturday.
*USC and Arizona State are not ranked in the current AP sports media and USA Today coaches polls.
*USC holds a 23-13 edge in its series with Arizona State (not including Troy's 2005 road victory later vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record 24-13). USC has won 5 of the past 6 meetings, but before that dropped 3 of the previous 4 after having won the prior 10 games (not including Troy's 2005 road victory later vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record 11), the longest win streak in the series.
*In 2019 in the last meeting in Tempe, QB Kedon Slovis threw 4 first quarter touchdowns to help USC build a 28-7 lead and then the Trojans hung on for a 31-26 victory that was not sealed until DL Christian Rector's last-minute interception. The victory made the Trojans bowl eligible after missing out in 2018.
*In Tempe games, USC leads the series, 11-7 (not including Troy's 2005 road victory later vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record 12-7). Seven of USC's 13 losses in the series have come in Tempe.
*Last year in the Coliseum, QB Kedon Slovis threw a pair of fourth down touchdown passes in the game's final 3 minutes — the first 26 yards to WR Bru McCoy with 2:52 to go that tipped off of WR Amon-Ra St. Brown's hands and, after McCoy recovered the ensuing onside kick, the second a 21-yarder that WR Drake London snagged over 2 defenders with 1:20 to play — to help No. 20 USC dramatically come back to beat Arizona State, 28-27, in its twice-delayed 2020 season opener. The 13-point fourth quarter deficit was the largest that the Trojans overcame since a 14-point spread against Penn State in the 2017 Rose Bowl. It was USC's first one-point victory since beating Arizona State in 2010. Because the COVID-19 pandemic twice delayed the Pac-12's season start, it was the latest USC began a season since 1918. The game kicked off at 9 a.m., the earliest for a USC home game since at least the early 1950s. It was the first time USC opened a season against a league opponent since 1994. It also was the first time that USC began a season with its Homecoming game.
*USC has a 266-134-20 (.657) all-time record while playing in the month of November (not including 3 wins vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 269-134-20, .660).
*USC has won 69.9% (482-199-29) of its games against current Pac-12 opponents (not including 9 wins later vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 491-199-29, 70.3%).
*USC is 183-72-4 (.714) at night, including 108-34-4 in the Coliseum, 60-30 on the road and 15-8 at neutral sites. (Does not include 5 wins and 1 loss vacated due to NCAA penalty; original record: 188-73-4, .717 overall, 111-34-4 in the Coliseum, 17-9 at neutral sites, USC had a school-record 32-game win streak at home at night from 1997 to 2010.)
USC-ARIZONA STATE CONNECTIONS
*USC has 7 players from Arizona (S Isaiah Pola-Mao of Phoenix's Mountain Pointe HS, QB Kedon Slovis of Scottsdale's Desert Mountain HS, OL Andrew Milek of Phoenix's Brophy Prep, OL AJ Mageo of Mesa's Red Mountain HS, WR Zach Wilson and PK Parker Lewis both of Scottsdale's Saguaro HS and WR Jake Smith of Scottsdale's Notre Dame Prep), while the Sun Devils have 36 Californians.
*USC S Isaiah Pola-Mao's brother, Matthew, is a sophomore defensive lineman at Arizona State, while father, Tracey, played with the Arena League's Arizona Rattlers (1994-96).
*USC S Max Williams' brother, Macen, is a redshirt freshman defensive back at Arizona State.
*USC DL Maninoa Tufono's brother, Jack, is an offensive graduate assistant at Arizona State.
*USC defensive quality control analyst C.J. Ah You's uncle, Junior Ah You, played football at Arizona State (1969-71).
*USC wide receivers coach Keary Colbert is the cousin of former Arizona State defensive lineman Tommy Townsend (1999-2001), who also attended USC.
*USC defensive line coach Vic So'oto was a linebacker with the Arizona Cardinals (2013).
*USC OL Jalen McKenzie's father, Reggie, was a linebacker with the Arizona Cardinals (1989-90).
*USC WR John Jackson III's father, John Jr., was a wide receiver with the Phoenix Cardinals (1990-92).
*USC ILB Ralen Goforth's brother, Randall, was a defensive back with the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football in 2019.
*USC ILB Micah Croom's brother, Larry Jr., played for the Arizona Cardinals (2004-05),
*USC assistant football sports performance coach Zaviar Gooden was a linebacker with the Arizona Cardinals (2016-17).
*USC Athletics' digital content coordinator Josh Nacion is a graduate of Arizona State.
*USC DL Jacob Lichtenstein will celebrate his 23rd birthday on Saturday (Nov. 6).
*ASU DB Jack Jones previously played at USC (2016-17).
*ASU linebackers coach Chris Claiborne lettered 3 years (1996-98) at linebacker for USC, where he was a unanimous All-American and won the Butkus Award in 1998 and then was a Trojan offensive quality control analyst in 2020.
*ASU assistant head coach/special teams coordinator coach Shawn Slocum was an assistant at USC in 1998 and 1999.
*ASU women's tennis coach Sheila McInerney was an All-American player for the Women of Troy from 1977 to 1980, playing on national championship teams all 4 seasons.
*ASU cross country head coach Patrick Henner was USC women's cross country head coach (2017-19).