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Opponent Preview - USC Trojans (9/24)

The first conference game will bring a host of emotions to Corvallis

USC Spring Game Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

USC Trojans

  • Head Coach: Lincoln Riley (1st Season)
  • 2021 Record: 4-8 (3-6 in Pac-12)
  • Last Meeting: 9/25/2021 - Oregon State 45, USC 27
  • Key Transfers: QB - Caleb Williams (Oklahoma), WR - Jordan Addison (Pitt) & RB - Travis Dye (Oregon)

What to Know:

This will be the first conference game for Oregon State and they’ll welcome a USC football team who lead the charge in leaving the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten. And in doing so they helped destabilized the conference, ruined traditions and rivalries that go back 100 years. Needless to say road games will probably not be welcoming to the two LA schools this season.

But anyways there’s big things going on at USC. They hired Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma and landed big time transfers on offense. This will not be the same team that Oregon State throttled last season. Their three most important players on offense could all be newcomers! Will they compete for a national championship like many are betting on? Highly unlikely, but they certainly could win the Pac-12 in Lincoln Riley’s first season.

Offensively the Trojans are going to be explosive. Caleb Williams could carry an offense all by himself, but he won’t need to. USC has an embarrassment of riches at skill positions. Just look at the wide receiver position: Jordan Addison, Mario Williams, Brenden Rice, Tahj Washington, Gary Bryant, Terrell Bynum, Kyron Ware-Hudson, and Kyle Ford. That’s eight elite wide receivers and we haven’t even talked about their talented running backs or tight ends.

Defensively? There’s questions on that side of the ball. Landing Alex Grinch as defensive coordinator is a big positive for the Trojans; but asking him to turn around the defense in just one season might be too tall of a task. USC allowed 409 yards and 31.8 points per game in 2021, good for 10th in the Pac-12 and the worst PPG-allowed in program history.

The defense should be better. They’ve added some solid transfers like: Romello Height (DE), Shane Lee (LB), Eric Gentry (LB), Mekhi Blackmon (CB) and Latrell McCutchin (CB). But overall the defense should just improve with the increased experience. Tuli Tuipulotu and Nick Figueroa are disruptive at the line of scrimmage and a secondary that struggled will benefit from having another year under their belt.

Fun Facts: USC only has to leave the state of California three times this season (upset potential in Reser?). Their schedule is relatively easy as they avoid playing Oregon & Washington in the regular season. Fresno State plays Oregon State & USC in back-to-back weeks leading up to this game providing both teams a nice measuring stick early in the season.

Player To Watch

Caleb Williams - Quarterback

NCAA Football: Southern California Spring Game Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

He’s crazy talented and is the face of USC football after leading Oklahoma to 11 wins as a true freshman. Williams managed to unseat Spencer Rattler (former 5-star/#1 QB recruit) and while the NFL is still two years away; Caleb Williams is likely to hear his name called very early in the 2024 NFL draft. The Beavers won’t face a more talented offensive this season.


USC’s high-powered offense is too much to handle in Reser Stadium. USC wins it 42-31.

Game Info

  • Date: Saturday, September 24th
  • Time: 6:30 PM
  • Location: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, Oregon)

2022 Opponent Previews