USC has a chance to end what has been an up-and-down three game homestead on a high as they prepare to face the Utah State Aggies Saturday at the Coliseum. The Trojan defense looks to continue their new-found dominance against one of the most exciting players in college football. Meanwhile, Cody Kessler and the offense hope to build on the improvement seen against Boston College as Lane Kiffin gets another chance to cool his hot seat in front of the Los Angeles faithful.
Now it is time to begin the countdown to game day with some numbers of note.
Games since Utah State has played on grass. The Aggies last played on a grass surface at BYU on October 5, 2012. The Coliseum is the only venue where they will play on grass all season.
Number of Aggies who received carries last week. With Joey DeMartino and Joe Hill leading the charge, Utah State rushed for 267 yards against Weber State and averages 219 yards per game this season.
Utah State’s national rank for scoring offense and USC’s national rank for scoring defense this season. The key match up in this game is strength versus strength. The Aggies average 49 points a game while the Trojans have given up an average of ten.
Number of ten reception or more games Marqise Lee had in 2012. The Biletnikoff Award winner has 17 catches this season, nearly half of which came against Hawaii. He broke out of his scoring drought with an 80-yard touchdown against Boston College but has yet to put in the prolific performances that made him a Heisman candidate.
Passes intercepted by the USC defense and their national rank for doing so. Led by Dion Bailey, the Trojan secondary has made meals of quarterbacks who have been harried by the aggressive pass rush.
Number of returning starters for Utah State on the offensive line. With 125 career starts between them, the Aggies’ o-line is among the most experienced in the country.
Number of wins USC has over the Aggies in the series. Meetings in 1989, 1984, 1930, and 1928 were all in Los Angeles and all ended in blowout fashion. The average margin of victory in those games was 46.
Games Tre Madden has rushed for over 100 yards, putting him in the elite company of Marcus Allen who is the only Trojan to do the same. Madden’s 362 yards this season have him ranked 10th in the nation in yards on the ground.
USC’s national rank in rushing defense. The Trojans have allowed an average of 43 yards rushing thus far for an average of 1.7 yards per rush.
Chuckie Keeton’s national rank for passing touchdowns and points scored. He has thrown 12 touchdowns this season and is responsible for 78 of the Aggies 148 points this season. An early dark horse for the Heisman, Keeton could be one of USC’s stiffest tests at quarterback all season.