WR John "JuJu" Smith
John "JuJu" Smith lived up to his 5-star billing and then some in USC's win over Fresno State. The freshman caught four passes, and his 123 yards were most among the 10 Trojans with a catch.
Smith took long strides toward becoming one of quarterback Cody Kessler's top options to complement Nelson Agholor—literally. His breakaway ability generated big plays against the Bulldogs.
USC's dynamic receiving duo of Agholor and Marqise Lee—whose No. 9 Smith now wears—was central to the Trojans' upset of Stanford a season ago. Smith can play a similar role in 2014.
The Offensive Line
USC started two true freshmen on the offensive line Saturday, guards Toa Lobendahn and Damien Mama. Per USCTrojans.com, it was the first time in the "post-World War II era" that two freshmen started Week 1 on the line. Also making his first career start at right tackle was Zach Banner.
The young line acquitted itself nicely against a Fresno State defense that ranked No. 6 in the nation with 40 sacks a season ago. The Bulldogs did not get to Kessler once on Saturday.
This week at Stanford, the youthful Trojans offensive line must contend with the nation's top sacking defense of a season ago, a defense that remained quite veteran in its front seven despite losing starters Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov.
CB Adoree' Jackson
Five-star 2014 signee Adoree' Jackson played in all three phases Saturday, and Sarkisian said on his Sunday conference call he hopes to give the freshman more opportunities on both sides of the ball.
His speed could be crucial to USC defending Stanford's passing attack, which showed explosive potential in a Week 1 romp over UC-Davis. The Cardinal receiving corps has some impressive speed in veteran Ty Montgomery, but newcomer Christian McCaffrey adds another gear that Trojans defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox must combat with speed of his own.
DL Leonard Williams
The bedrock of USC's defense, Leonard Williams played every bit like the best defensive lineman in the country against Fresno State. He had seven tackles, two passes broken up and an interception.
Sarkisian gushed about Williams' performance on the coach's conference call Sunday.
"Sometimes you don't appreciate defensive line play until you look at the film," Sarkisian said. "Leonard was spectacular and the numbers say he was."
Stanford's game plan centers around its ability to methodically move the ball on the ground. USC must win at the point of attack against a stout and talented Cardinal offensive line. Williams is the cornerstone of that effort.