Football | March 02, 2021
LOS ANGELES — The 2021 USC football schedule has been announced by the Pac-12 and it features seven home games in the Coliseum, with visits from league opponents UCLA, Utah, Stanford, Arizona and Oregon State along with non-conference foes BYU and San José State.
The Trojans’ five road games will be at Notre Dame, Arizona State, Colorado, California and Washington State.
USC, which has a bye at the midway point of the season, will face nine league foes in the 2021 regular season (all but Oregon and Washington). This will be the first time since 2009 that Troy will play all of its regular season games on Saturdays.
— USC Football (@USC_FB) March 2, 2021
USC will open its 2021 slate in the Coliseum on Sept. 4 of Labor Day weekend against defending Mountain West champion San José State. The teams last met in 2009.
The Trojans remain at home the following week to start Pac-12 play with a visit from Stanford on Sept. 11. It will be the Pac-12’s first game of the 2021 campaign.
USC then travels to Washington State on Sept. 18, its first trip to Pullman since 2017.
Troy returns home on Sept. 25 to host Oregon State. The teams have not played since 2018 (and not in the Coliseum since 2017).
The Trojans begin October play by traveling to Colorado on Oct. 2, then are back in the Coliseum on Oct. 9 to battle Utah.
Following a bye week, USC returns to action on Oct. 23 when it goes to South Bend for its traditional intersectional clash with Notre Dame, a 2020 College Football Playoff semifinalist.
Arizona comes to the Coliseum on Oct. 30 before the Trojans embark on a two-game road trip, playing at Arizona State on Nov. 6 and at California on Nov. 13.
USC concludes its regular season with a pair of home contests, first facing crosstown rival UCLA on Nov. 20 and then independent BYU on Nov. 27 of Thanksgiving weekend. It will be the first time since 2009 when it played Arizona that USC will end its regular season against a team other than UCLA or Notre Dame and the first since 1999 (when it hosted Louisiana Tech) doing so against a non-conference foe other than Notre Dame.
The Pac-12 Football Championship Game will be on Friday, Dec. 3, in Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev.
Game times and television plans for USC’s 2021 games will be announced at a later date. All games will be nationally televised by either the ESPN channels, ABC, FOX, FOX Sports 1 or Pac-12 Networks.
USC returns 16 starters, plus the punter and kicker, from a squad that went 5-1 and won the Pac-12 South Division title in the 2020 pandemic-shortened season. Troy also welcomes one of the nation’s top recruiting classes.
USC’s potent offense — which averaged 416.7 total yards per game, including 319.3 passing to rank 11th nationally, and 33.3 points in 2020—brings back its top passer and top 2 rushers along with 9 players who caught a pass last year and 4 starting linemen. Quarterback Kedon Slovis, a 2-year starter who has completed 70% of his career passes for nearly 5,500 yards and 50 TDs and already is ninth on USC’s career completions chart, is a leading Heisman nominee after an All-Pac-12 first team season in 2020 when he led the nation in completions and was in the Top 20 in passing yards, total offense and completion percentage. Wide receiver Drake London, another 2-year starter, will be among the nation’s top receivers; he has 72 career receptions with 8 TDs, including 33 catches for a team-high 502 yards last fall. USC sports a pair of 1,000-yard career rushers in tailbacks Vavae Malepeai (1,503 yards with 17 TDs) and Stephen Carr (1,329, 12). Tight end Erik Krommenhoek has 24 catches and 12 starts in his career. Four-fifths of Troy’s offensive line is back: 3-year starting guard Andrew Vorhees (he was on the left side in 2020), 2-year starting center Brett Neilon, 2-year starter Jalen McKenzie (he was at right tackle last year after playing guard in 2019) and Liam Jimmons, last year’s right guard.
The Trojan defense, which allowed its third fewest average total yards (369.7) and second fewest passing yards (216.3) since 2009 while averaging 2.7 takeaways a game (its best since 2005), welcomes back 18 of its top 21 tacklers from 2020, as well as its leaders in sacks, tackles for loss, pass deflections and forced fumbles. Outside linebacker Drake Jackson, who has 17 career tackles for loss (with 7.5 sacks), is one of the nation’s most dominant pass rushers. Safety Isaiah Pola-Mao has 121 tackles and 5 interceptions in his career, while cornerback Chris Steele—a 2-year starter like Jackson and Pola-Mao—has 8 career pass deflections. Both inside linebackers are back: Kana’i Mauga (116 career tackles), another 2-year starter, and Ralen Goforth. Defensive lineman Nick Figueroa sprang onto the scene last year while leading Troy in tackles for losses (7) and sacks (3.5), as did fellow lineman Tuli Tuipulotu, who was a Freshman All-American second teamer in 2020. Greg Johnson and Max Williams, who shared starts at nickelback last fall, both return.
Australian Ben Griffiths, whose 46.4-yard punting average last year was the highest by a Trojan since 2003, is back for his third season as USC’s punter. Parker Lewis, who won the kicking job as a true freshman last year, was 20th nationally in field goals and had touchbacks on nearly 60% of his kickoffs. Damon Johnson, a 2020 Mannelly Award finalist, will long snap for a fifth season.
2021 USC FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 4 — San José State
Sept. 11 – Stanford
Sept. 18 — at Washington State
Sept. 25 — Oregon State
Oct. 2 — at Colorado
Oct. 9 – Utah
Oct. 16 — BYE WEEK
Oct. 23 — at Notre Dame
Oct. 30 — Arizona
Nov. 6 — at Arizona State
Nov. 13 — at California
Nov. 20 – UCLA
Nov. 27 – BYU
Put the ball down 😤
— USC Football (@USC_FB) March 2, 2021