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Game Preview: No. 7 USC Football Faces Fresno State For First Night Game in the Coliseum

Sep 16, 2022

Who: USC vs Fresno State

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

When: Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. PT on FOX

All-time series: USC leads, 4-1

Last meeting: USC won 31-23 in 2019, led by sophomore quarterback JT Daniels


Fresno State Player Spotlight:

Quarterback Jake Haener:

  • So far in 2022: 65/87 (74.7%), 737 YD, 3 TD, 0 INT

  • Ranks 3rd in FBS in completion percentage

  • Started his collegiate career at Washington, but transferred to Fresno State after 2018 season

  • Led the Bulldogs to a thrilling upset victory over UCLA in 2021

Running back Jordan Mims: 

  • So far in 2022: 36 carries, 195 YD, 4 TD

  • Tied for third in FBS for rushing touchdowns

Keys to the Game:

  1. Remain focused and disciplined for all four quarters

    • USC's offense played entirely two different halves against Stanford last week. The Trojans looked unstoppable for the first thirty minutes, while the second half of the game left much to be desired. Quarterback Caleb Williams & Co. were held to just two field goals and failed to score a touchdown following halftime. USC's coaching staff have made it clear this week that the team needs to play a complete game against Fresno State.

    • "It wasn't good enough. That first half where everybody came out, that's what a focused half looks like," running backs coach Kiel McDonald said on The Victory Podcast. "Eleven guys doing their job and doing it well. The second half, I think guys kind of took their foot off the gas a little bit, and that can't happen for what we're trying to achieve here. So we've got to understand that this is a 60-minute game and it's not about the opponent. The opponent is us, alright? So we got beat in the second half by ourselves because eleven guys weren't doing their job at a high level."

  2. Attack Fresno State's weak run defense

    • The Bulldogs are allowing 142 rush yards through two games this season, which ranks 82nd in FBS. Redshirt senior running back Travis Dye is coming off of his first 100+ yard game as a Trojan, while fellow redshirt senior Austin Jones is averaging 7.7 yards per carry. Head coach Lincoln Riley previewed USC's opponent as one "without many weaknesses," so this is an area where the Trojans can attack Fresno State on Saturday.

  3. Trust your assignments

    • The word of the week has been "trust" for the Trojans. Riley shared in his Tuesday press conference that one of the biggest things that showed on Stanford's game film was a lack of trust. The head coach explained that the Trojans are put in a position to succeed, but in order for that to come to fruition, they need to trust both the scheme and their teammates.

    • "There were too many mental mistakes," Riley said. "Whether it's a lack of focus, or a lack of just complete trust in what we're doing, that's got to grow."

USC vs Fresno State Preview Podcast: