March 8, 2021
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Story tips, concerns, questions?

Kedon Slovis and the Trojans look to burst onto the scene in an odd season. Photo courtesy of USC Athletics.

By Daniel Tom, Staff Reporter

Arizona State @  No. 20 USC 

9am PST


Clay Helton’s squad looks to come out firing on all cylinders as they welcome the always mischievous Arizona State Sun Devils to the Coliseum for an early morning game. USC returns 16 starters from last year’s 8-5 team including sophomore quarterback Kedon Slovis, wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown & Tyler Vaughns along with a stacked tailback rotation in Vavae Malepeai, Stephen Carr, & Markese Stepp.

On the defensive side, 11 of 13 starters return and look to have prime showings in a short campaign. Familiar faces like Drake Jackson & Palaie Gaoteote IV, along with Talanoa Hufanga look to perform.

“We’ve been going through [the shutdown] since March 15,”  Helton said in a press conference on Monday. “Now we have the opportunity to play the game we love. We’re grateful and excited to go out there and play a good ASU team.” 

A look at the opponent:

Third-year head coach Herm Edwards and Arizona State are also coming off an 8-5 season in 2019. ASU returns freshman All-American quarterback Jayden Daniels under center where he threw for nearly 3,000 yards along with 17 touchdown passes, and only 2 interceptions all season. They also return wide receiver Frank Darby, who now has bigger shoes to fill with the departure of Brandon Aiyuk to the NFL this spring.

On defense, ASU matches up well bringing back four of it’s leading tacklers from last season and a stout secondary featuring former Trojan Jack Jones.

On paper, this is anyone’s game. Both teams are eager to hit each other after hitting one another in conditioning and contact practices for the last six weeks. For ASU to have a chance of winning for the second time in LA in two years, the offense needs to step up and start fast to tire out the defense.

Daniels was injured and did not play in last season’s matchup. For a team that once relied on it’s run game, all eyes will be on Daniels to effectively run his offense to sustain drives.

Keys to the game + Prediction:

For the Trojans, establishing control early is key. USC has been hyped all offseason to have the most dangerous offense in the conference returning. It is said USC has the pieces to it’s puzzle to go play for a conference crown, can they now live up to expectations with an improved run game & new defensive scheme?

USC enters the game as an 11-point favorite. They have been establishing building blocks year-after-year to reach its fullest potential. What should be a back and forth battle between two conference contenders with the winner of this game being in the driver’s seat for the South Division title.

USC will come out firing and ready to play and Arizona State will counter. After all the jabs have been exchanged, USC scores late in the 4th quarter and wins a shootout at home to start the season on a high-note and to establish momentum for the rest of the season.


USC- 42

ASU- 35

Sports editor Jeremy Gonzalez contributed to this piece.



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