The No. 2 USC Trojans throttled Hawaii 49-10 in their opener. In Week 2, they travel to East Rutherford, N.J. to battle the Syracuse Orange.
The Orange lost a heartbreaker to Northwestern in the season-opener 42-41. Though the Wildcats have a solid offensive attack, it is nothing compared to the offense the Trojans will bring to MetLife Stadium.
USC QB Matt Barkley is on everyone's Heisman Trophy shortlist, and the overall talent on both sides of the ball will present a huge challenge for Syracuse.
It doesn’t help the Orange’s cause that the Trojans will be fired up after being booted from the top spot in the polls.
Here’s the information you need to catch this game:
Where: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
When: September 8, 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: ABC and ESPN2
Radio: 710 ESPN Radio in Southern California, WTKW 99.5 FM in Syracuse
Odds: Per OddsShark.com, USC (+27)
Isiah Wiley, CB—out for season (academics)
DeVante Wilson, DE—out for season (knee)
No injuries to report
What’s At Stake
No one wants to start the season 0-2, but that is what most expect the Orange to do. The game is technically a neutral-site game, but the Orange should have the clear home-field advantage in New Jersey.
That edge and a top-notch effort will be essential to keep this one from getting out of hand quickly.
The Trojans want to keep the train rolling. They blew through Hawaii in Week 1, and now this game would represent a slight step up. The game takes place on the East Coast in what amounts to a road game.
They will be trying to prevent the Orange from derailing their national championship hopes.
What They’re Saying
Despite the Orange’s sixth straight defeat, head coach Doug Marrone remains positive.
"I'm very encouraged about this football team. I feel like we are heading in the right direction," Marrone said via John Kekis of the Associated Press.
They need to get to their destination quickly if they are to keep this game watchable.
"I think he’ll be the best one ever when it's all said and done. I’ve been saying that for a year now."
Lee is one of the most talented players in the country, and a part of an amazing receiving corps with George Farmer and Robert Woods. The Trojans’ weapons are aplenty.
Lee showed a little of what Kiffin referred to in Week 1 vs. Hawaii. He had 10 catches for 197 yards and a TD. If he maintains that pace—or anywhere close to it—this will be a monumental season for the young man from Inglewood, Calif.
Players to Watch
USC - Marqise Lee
This guy is truly dynamic. He has a great combination of speed, hands and route-running ability.
He’ll thrive in front of a nationally televised audience in MetLife Stadium. This will be the game where he starts to take some of Barkley’s Heisman votes away.
Syracuse - Ryan Nassib
A lot of fans haven’t heard of Nassib but he is an accomplished, smart and talented signal-caller. The senior lit Northwestern up in a losing cause in Week 1.
He threw for 470 yards and four scores in the game.
He’s played and excelled against USC in the past. Last season he was 25-of-37 for 230 yards and a touchdown against the Trojans, but the Orange fell 38-17 on the road.
He’ll improve on his performance, but it probably won’t change the outcome.
Will the Orange stay within three TDs?
Orange’s Secondary vs. Trojans’ Receivers
Syracuse won’t see a better passing game all year. Some of that certainly has to do with Barkley, but most of it is attributed to their all-world receivers.
The Trojans have three receivers in Lee, Woods and Farmer that could be first-round picks when each enters the NFL Draft.
Despite giving up 42 points to Northwestern, the pass defense wasn’t horrible. The offense turned the ball over three times to give the Wildcats extra opportunities.
The Orange’s defense held the Wildcats to only 213 yards passing, though it did allow three scores through the air.
They will need to ratchet-up their intensity and focus ten-fold to contend with USC’s aerial attack.
The Orange will make a solid account of themselves, but the talent gap is too great. Big plays on both sides of the ball will bust this game open, and USC will win by 28.
Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay on YouTube and Twitter for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games