Fresno State vs USC

The traditional David and Goliath story is too common in college football, with gigantic programs like Alabama and Georgia constantly being criticized for handpicking smaller programs to have “warm-up” games against. Most of the time these schools are compensated very nicely for their attendance at their own funeral in a sense.

The most recent upset of the Appalachian State Mountaineers over #24 Texas A&M was not only played in College Station, Texas but the Aggies also paid the program a reported $1.5 million to play them.

A beginning of the season “warm-up” game is what many are playing out the Fresno State Bulldogs to play against the #7 USC Trojans. Although Fresno State is a solid program in its own right, they have nowhere near the caliber of recruiting power that a private school such as USC is able to have.

Fresno State has had an up and down season as of this year, with their record for the 2022 season so far being 1-1 after starting off strong in a 35-7 opening week win against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a loss last week to Oregon State by a score of 35-32 in a back and forth battle at Bulldog Stadium. Their team is led by returning head coach of the program Jeff Tedford, who coached the Dogs previously from 2017-2019 before health issues affected his role.

Offensively, the team is led by seniors quarterback Jake Haener and utility player Jalen Cropper-Moreno, who look to put on great senior campaigns with the hopes of getting a call from an NFL team once draft times approach. Some defensive players that have been noteworthy for the Bulldogs and to keep a watch out for this upcoming season are returning seniors Levelle Bailey at linebacker and David Perales, who in their own rights have an opportunity to crack the rosters of some NFL squads post their Bulldog days.

A lot of USC’s talent came in this past offseason after the acquiring of former Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley, with the deal that got him pried from the Sooners being reported at over $110 million. With Riley came many great transfers from other universities, such as former Oklahoma Quarterback Caleb Williams, former Pittsburgh receiver Jordan Attison and Travis Dye, former running back of the Oregon Ducks.

The team is currently 2-0 after a week one victory over Rice University with a score of 66-14 and most recently the Trojans are coming off a win over another California rival in the Stanford Cardinal, with this score being a bit closer with USC coming out on top still 41-28.

In regards to local high school football standouts, USC also has redshirt senior offensive guard Andrew Vorhees, a former standout of local Kingsburg High School. This previous year Vorhees was named a Third Team All-American and also USC offensive linemen of the year so he looks to have a big season for his senior year. Alijah Vera Tucker, a first-round offensive lineman for the New York Jets, was also on the 2021 USC roster.

This game will definitely pose a challenge for the Bulldogs, as USC’s spread offense can pose many issues for a Fresno State defense that looked to struggle against spread packages last week against Oregon State. This USC defense also has a nose for the football and is aggressive in their schemes, so the pass-heavy Bulldogs and Haener will look to try and hit the Trojans with a balanced look if they have any hopes of competing against USC.

My final prediction for the score of this game is going to be 49-31, with USC coming out on top. I do not think that the Bulldog defense, although full of heart, has the scheming ability to be able to stop the athletes of the Trojans and I think it will eventually become too much for the defense that looked to become gassed out after a relentless attack from the Oregon State Beavers.

Fresno State’s Game vs USC will be played on Saturday, September 17th at 7:30 pm in the classic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. If you would like to watch the Bulldogs in action and can’t catch the game in person, it will be broadcasted on Fox nationally!