USC Football 2014 Schedule Preview: Fresno State Bulldogs

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Dec 21, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Southern California Trojans tailback Javorius Allen (37) is pursued by Fresno State Bulldogs safety Derron Smith (13) in the third quarter in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. USC defeated Fresno State 45-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not often that a team plays back-to-back games against the same opponent, or gets to avenge a bowl game loss in Week 1. Steve Sarkisian had that opportunity a year ago with Washington, and now Fresno State finds themselves in the same position, against Sarkisian, no less.

The Bulldogs had a big year in 2013, flirting with an at-large BCS berth for most of the season before faltering to San Jose State, and then again to USC in Las Vegas Bowl. That 45-20 defeat in Vegas was with Derek Carr, and one that Fresno State won’t exactly be forgetting about soon.

Despite having one of the nation’s most potent offensive attacks, the Bulldogs were held to just 254 total yards. Defensively, Fresno State struggled to contain Cody Kessler, who threw for 344 yards in what may have been his best performance of his rookie season at the helm of the Trojans’ offense.

This year, however, things look to be different as the ‘Dogs break in a new quarterback, and return just five players on offense, leading to different expectations against USC.

Let us kickoff our game-by-game preview of the 2014 season, with an in-depth look at USC’s Week 1 opponent: the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Bulldogs by the numbers:

2013 Record: 11-2 (7-1, Mountain West Champions)
13 Returning Starters: 5 offense, 8 defense
Key Returners: FS Derron Smith, DL Tyeler Davison, LG Cody Wichmann
Key Losses: QB Derek Carr, WR Davonte Adams, LT Austin Wentworth

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