No. 15 USC gets first look at QB Daniels against UNLV
UNLV (5-7 last season) at No. 15 Southern California (11-3), 4 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network).
Line: USC by 26.
Series record: USC leads 1-0-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Trojans believe they can make the College Football Playoff after winning their first Pac-12 title since 2008 last season, but cannot afford a slow start with road games at No. 13 Stanford and Texas up next. The Rebels would significantly improve their chances of making a bowl game for the first time since the 2013 season by pulling off the upset.
UNLV’s running game vs. USC defense. The Trojans allowed at least 150 yards rushing in seven games last season, something the Rebels will try to exploit with sophomore QB Armani Rogers. Rogers set a school record for a quarterback by running for 193 yards at New Mexico, finishing with 780 yards rushing and eight touchdown runs as he was named Mountain West freshman of the year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
UNLV: Lexington Thomas. The senior running back rushed for 1,336 yards, fourth-most by a Rebel in a single season. Nicknamed “Lightning,” Thomas had six runs that gained at least 55 yards last season.
USC: JT Daniels. Daniels will become the second freshman quarterback to start a season opener for the Trojans, joining Matt Barkley in 2009. Daniels was the 2017 Gatorade national player of the year at Mater Dei High School in Orange County, where Barkley also played before becoming a four-year starter at USC.
FACTS & FIGURES
Rogers was one of five FBS quarterbacks to average 140 yards passing and 75 yards rushing per game, joining Arizona’s Khalil Tate, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald and USF’s Quinton Flowers. . The Trojans are 32-1-1 against Mountain West teams. . UNLV has three wins over top-15 teams, the most recent a 23-20 overtime victory at Arizona State in 2008. . USC head coach Clay Helton is 16-0 at the Coliseum. . The only other meeting between UNLV and USC was a 35-21 comeback win by the Trojans in 1997. USC was coached by John Robinson, who would later coach UNLV for six seasons. . The Rebels’ last four wins over ranked opponents have all come on the road.