USC Football Opponent Preview: Idaho Vandals


USC football’s second game of the season will have the Idaho Vandals come down to Los Angeles in hopes of pulling off a shocking upset.

RELATED: Ranking the 2015 USC Football Schedule By Threat Level

When: Saturday, Sept. 12, 5 p.m.Where: The Coliseum2014 Record: 1-10 (no bowl)Coach: Paul Petrino, 3rd year (2-21)Projected Returning Starters – Offense: 7Projected Returning Starters – Defense: 8

Key Players:

QB Matt Linehan, So. — 221-of-379 passing (58.3 percent), 2,540 yards, 11 touchdowns, 18 interceptions

RB Elijhaa Penny, Sr. — 139 carries, 589 yards (4.2 average), 12 touchdowns

LB Marc Millan, Sr. — 102 tackles, 2 sacks

This and That:

Paul Petrino, younger brother of Bobby, enters his third season with the Idaho Vandals. Petrino was dealt a rough deck when he took the job, inheriting a program that was panned by sanctions and consecutive losing seasons. It has been a difficult road to rebuild since.

Going strictly by the numbers, the Idaho Vandals 1-10 record says they weren’t very good at all last year. However the play on the field was better than their record says with the Vandals putting up a fight in several defeats. But “barely losing” is still losing and Petrino knows that.

An interesting ploy Petrino has taken is recruiting 28 junior college prospects in the last two freshman classes. This move, if it works, could make Petrino look really good.

What’s To Like About the Matchup:

As close as some of their games were, the Vandals were still poor for much of the season and their talent level does not compare well to the Trojans.

Sophomore quarterback Matt Linehan showed flashes of potential with 2,534 yards on 58.4% passing but his mistakes were many and costly with 11 scores to 18 interceptions.

Linehan also loses his two top targets that accounted for over 2,100 yards.

There were even bigger problems on the other side of the ball. The Vandals struggled in pass defense and also against the run, giving up an average of 37 points per contest.

What’s Not To Like About the Matchup:

Where the Vandals lack talent, they make up for it in experience.

Dezmon Epps returns from being suspended last season. Epps caught 77 balls for 971 yards in 2013 and will serve as Linehan’s number one option.

The offensive line has four players back with starting experience and plenty of size.

Three players are back on the defensive line with Quinton Bradley being the most notable with 9.5 TFL and six sacks. The unit does have plenty of size so perhaps the run ‘D’ will benefit from some big bodies coming in.

Four of the top five linebackers return with leading tackler Marc Millan posting 83 stops and 14.5 TFL.

The secondary also gets back two players with significant playing time.


Although I am confident that Idaho, with their experience, will improve from their awful season a year ago, their talent level simply does not matchup well with the Trojans and this should be an easy W for the home team.

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