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Fresno State (0-0) at (15) USC (0-0)



Saturday, August 30, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

From The Sports Network

GAME NOTES: A new era of football begins at USC this weekend, as the 15th- ranked Trojans take their directions from new head coach Steve Sarkisian as they play host to the Fresno State Bulldogs.

The eighth-youngest head coach at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, Sarkisian was most recently the head coach at Washington, a foe of the Trojans in the Pac-12 Conference. He took a team that had won just 12 total games in the five seasons prior to his arrival in 2009, and ended up guiding the Huskies to an 8-5 record a season ago, the most victories for the squad since 2000.

More than familiar with the Trojans, Sarkisian started out as the quarterbacks coach with USC in 2001, returned to reprise that role a few years later, and eventually became the assistant head coach before moving north to Washington. Sarkisian actually landed at USC out of high school, hoping to make an impact as a baseball player.

"I feel so honored to be part of the Trojan Family," Sarkisian said during his introductory press conference. "We will continue to earn their support and our loyal fan base will make them proud to be Trojans."

As for the Bulldogs, a team which now hails from the Mountain West Conference after spending several years in the Western Athletic, they are under the direction of third-year head coach Tim DeRuyter. Opening on the road for the first time under DeRuyter, the Bulldogs have experienced much success in his two years, thanks in large part to quarterback Derek Carr, but he is no longer in the picture.

Last season, the Bulldogs rolled to an 11-2 record overall, winning 10 straight games out of the gate, leading to a top-25 ranking from the Associated Press. Unfortunately, FSU failed to make an impact on the BCS when it lost to San Jose State (62-52) in a wild shootout during the regular-season finale.

The Bulldogs did regain some momentum with a 24-17 victory over Utah State in the first Mountain West Conference Championship Game, but eventually fell hard to this same USC group in the Las Vegas Bowl, 45-20.

With the loss at Sam Boyd Stadium in December, the Bulldogs fell behind in the all-time series against USC by a count of 2-1.

DeRuyter had five quarterbacks competing for the job during spring practice but now it appears as though he has narrowed the field to either Brian Burrell or Brandon Connette, according to the most recent depth chart.

"I feel like we have some good dudes back there and we're not expecting them to come in and be Derek Carr," said wide receiver Josh Harper during spring practice. "They are themselves and however they are going to make us successful, that's how we want them to be."

Burrell appeared in five games as the backup to Carr last season and also led Bakersfield Junior College to the CCCAA State Championship with 11-2 record in 2012.

Connette is a graduate transfer from Duke, who in 39 games set that school's record with 31 rushing touchdowns.

Harper, a Biletnikoff Award candidate, has notched 22 TD catches in 27 career games. He is among the all-time leaders at Fresno State in receptions (138), TDs and 100-yard games (six).

Some more positive news has the top two ground gainers from a year ago returning in Josh Quezada and Marteze Waller. Quezada led the way with 829 yards on 155 carries and scored six times on the ground, but it was Waller who turned his 124 attempts into seven TDs and averaged a solid 5.2 yards per carry.

On defense, FSU has the luxury of bringing back free safety Derron Smith, one of the top players at his position nationally. Not only was Smith picked for the preseason All-MWC First Team, he was also chosen as the preseason MWC Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. A two-time All- MWC First Team selection, Smith was the MVP of the inaugural MWC Championship Game after posting a sack and an interception against Utah State.

Smith, who stepped up with seven interceptions a year ago, will gain plenty of support from returning stars in Karl Mickelsen (97 tackles) and Ejiro Ederaine (16 tackles for loss and 10 sacks).

For USC, which has won the last 15 season openers, it brings back as many as 18 starters from a year ago, including Leonard Williams, Nelson Agholor and Su'a Cravens, each of whom has been selected a preseason All-American. But the key to the offense for the Trojans or any other program, is at quarterback and this squad has Cody Kessler coming back.

Kessler converted 65.4 percent of his passes for almost 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns, thanks in part to Agholor who was second on the unit with 56 catches for 918 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games. Agholor generally played in the shadow of Marqise Lee, but now he has the spotlight almost exclusively to himself.

Tailback Javorius Allen is back after pacing the program with 785 yards and 14 touchdowns on 135 rushing attempts.

The USC defense took a major hit on Monday when it was announced that Josh Shaw, the starting cornerback and team captain, would be out indefinitely due to suffering a pair of high ankle sprains when he allegedly jumped from a second-floor balcony to help save his nephew who was struggling in a nearby pool.

"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw told USC's website. "My ankles really hurt, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world. I am taking my rehab one day at a time, and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible."

Unfortunately, by Tuesday the validity of the story surrounding the injury was being questioned, but however it plays out, the fact is Shaw will probably not play this weekend.

Regardless of Shaw's status, the Trojans still have Williams to lean on after he placed second on the unit in tackles with 74 and tied for the team lead with 13.5 tackles for loss.

As long as the Shaw story doesn't become a distraction for the Trojans, they still have more than enough offensive firepower to take down Fresno State just as they did nine months ago.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: USC 38, Fresno State 17

08/29 15:21:07 ET

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Final
ECU 58
FRES 52
Final
CIN 59
NCCU 50
 
12:00pm Today
UNC
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2:30pm Today
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HAW
 
5:00pm Tonight
DUKE
FUR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
RICH
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
CAR
 
Final
WAS 102
ATL 106
Final
MIA 97
GSW 114
Final
MIL 98
DET 86
Final
NOP 89
SAC 99
Final
DEN 114
CHI 109
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
BRK
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
GSW
 
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CHA
POR
 
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CLE
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8:00pm Tonight
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OKC
UTA
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
IND
 
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PHO
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10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MEM
 
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UMO 21
OHIO 24
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ECU 58
FRES 52
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ELON 74
MRGST 73
 
Final
MIZZ 61
PURD 82
Final
MAR 55
HAW 62
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UNF 77
LIB 57
 
Final
CHAM 85
BYU 121
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BUCK 58
MDES 55
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UGST 85
WCU 70
Final
UWGB 64
EVAN 62
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ARST 71
ALA 76
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OHIO 69
ARKPB 60
 
Final
UNH 75
BU 68
 
Final
OU 70
CHIST 57
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TOL 79
DET 82
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CLMB 57
FD 47
 
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QUIN 50
HART 54
 
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SFLA 71
HOF 70
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HARV 84
HOU 63
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BONA 79
JST 71
 
Final
STJOE 74
LIU 70
 
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SYR 70
GHND 37
 
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MLOWELL 102
MTIDA 57
 
Final
CIN 59
NCCU 50
 
Final
VT 54
NIOWA 73
Final
WOFF 82
OHVALLEY 54
 
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TEMPL 76
PENN 67
Final
RUTG 50
PETE 68
Final
BGU 62
SEMIZ 54
Final
LAS 73
Terriers 60
 
Final
UVA 79
TENST 36
Final
KENT 92
TXARL 44
Final
FSU 66
CITA 55
Final
PBY 63
TOCC 40
 
Final
COOK 56
TENNM 74
 
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WMARY 83
WILL 49
Final
USB 71
WKENT 61
 
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HIGH 88
WMPEACE 71
 
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SMU 72
ARK 78
Final
ARMY 80
BING 54
 
Final
CSOU 80
CARK 67
 
Final
UMBC 54
HOW 68
 
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ARZ 72
KYST 68
Final
OREG 63
VCU 77
Final
PSU 78
AKR 72
Final
SCST 92
CIU 55
 
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CREI 75
EILL 53
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ALAAM 61
JVST 67
 
Final
ABCHRIST 91
JCHR 65
 
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TXSA 57
LOYC 71
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NDST 64
MNCROOK 63
 
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NEB 80
NEOM 67
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VANDY 63
NORST 53
 
Final
STLU 57
NCAT 54
 
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MTST 65
NARZ 53
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TTU 75
NWST 64
 
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TULA 74
SOUTH 59
 
Final
ILLCH 87
STXAVIER 76
 
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TEX 78
RFLSH 46
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BRAD 52
TAMCC 38
 
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SMISS 72
TROY 70
Final
DRAK 73
IUPUI 60
Final
ARKST 58
LAM 63
 
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FLGC 62
USF 47
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COL 68
AFA 53
Final
IDAHO 75
BSU 86
Final
GRCN 64
BUF 80
 
Final
ORU 52
LALAF 76
Final
CHAR 74
MIAMI 77
Final
ISU 63
MD 72
Final
UMO 46
NW 55
Final
SACST 97
BRISTOL 63
 
Final
MICH 55
VILL 60
Final
SDST 74
PITT 57
Final
USC 53
CSFU 49
Final
STAN 84
DEL 47
12:00pm Today
UNC
BUT
 
12:00pm Today
FRES
MAR
 
12:00pm Today
CHAT
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12:00pm Today
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2:00pm Today
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2:30pm Today
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MIZZ
 
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2:30pm Today
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4:00pm Today
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4:30pm Today
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6:00pm Tonight
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CLB 2
WIN 4
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NAS 4
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STL 2
OTT 3
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DAL 3
EDM 2
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ARI 3
COL 4
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ANA 3
CAL 2
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VAN 2
NJD 0
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