USC Football Game Preview: Week 3

The USC Trojans take on Fresno State on September 17.

USC’s third game comes against the Fresno State Bulldogs, who put together a strong 10-3 2021 season, including an impressive win against then-No. 13 UCLA in week four.

Senior quarterback Jake Haener, who threw for 4,096 yards and 33 touchdowns in last year’s campaign, will be back for one more season at the head of the Bulldogs’ offense. Jeff Tedford, who last coached at Fresno State in 2019, is also returning once again as head coach for the 2022 season, following Kalen DeBoer’s departure for the head job at Washington.

These two teams last met in August 2019, in what would be West Virginia quarterback J.T. Daniels’ last game as a Trojan, with USC taking the contest 31-23 at the Coliseum. Kedon Slovis made his debut as the Trojans’ quarterback, replacing the injured Daniels and ultimately leading his team to a victory.

Optimism for the Trojans continues to build as the offseason begins to wind down. In fact, one Las Vegas sportsbook has received more bets on USC to win the title than any other team. If the Trojans are to approach these lofty expectations, winning this non-conference matchup is a must.

Fresno State has put together three 10-win seasons since Tedford took the helm in 2017, including last year’s with DeBoer. However, the Bulldogs do play weaker competition in the Mountain West Conference, and the talent imbalance should tip heavily in USC’s favor for this home matchup.

The Trojans will likely improve to 3-0 on the season as they move into exclusively Pac-12 games, save for the annual meeting with Notre Dame at Thanksgiving. 

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