What Miller Moss Can Prove For The USC Trojans In The Holiday Bowl

USC Trojans quarterback Miller Moss is a true Trojan. A SoCal kid out of Mission Hills who grew up wearing the Cardinal and Gold. Out of High School, he had offers from Michigan, Alabama, Miami, and many others, but there was only one choice for Moss.

He committed to USC in 2020 and enrolled in January of 2021, along with fellow freshman Jaxson Dart. At the time, Kedon Slovis was the starter for the Trojans.

Slovis was injured early in the season, and Head Coach Clay Helton was fired early on. Interim Head Coach Donte Williams turned to freshman Dart, not Moss, to take over as the USC signal caller.

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The next year saw Lincoln Riley come to town. Generational prospect Caleb Williams followed him from Oklahoma, and Dart transferred to Ole Miss. Moss was once again relegated to backup.

Now, after three seasons of playing backup QB, Miller Moss will get his first start as quarterback for Southern Cal in the Holiday Bowl. It will be the first true time that the world will see if he is the player to lead the Trojans into the 2024 season. Unfortunately, it is not the most fair of exams.

The roster on December 27th will look very different than what it looked like in the final game at the Coliseum all the way back on November 18th. On offense alone, WR Brenden Rice and RB Marshawn Lloyd will forego the game to prepare for the NFL Draft. WR Mario Williams, WR Michael Jackson III, RB Raleek Brown, and TE Jude Wolfe have all entered the Transfer Portal. And TE Lake McRee suffered an injury last week in practice.

So what can we expect to see from Miller Moss leading an inexperienced unit against a top defense in Louisville?

What Miller Moss Can Prove For The USC Trojans In The Holiday Bowl

NCAA Football: Nevada at Southern California
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Anytime a player puts on the Trojan helmet, winning is the expectation. However, based on everything that has transpired since November 18th, it’s fair to say that USC will be looking to build upon this game with the intention of getting some playing time for the youth rather than having a sole focus on winning. Would it be nice to end 2023 with a win against a Top 25 opponent and the first Bowl win of the Lincoln Riley Era? Of course. Is that likely with the current state of the roster and defensive coaching staff influx? Probably not.

So, this leads us back to the original question in evaluating Miller Moss. As of the eve of the game, no transfer QB, including Will Howard, has officially committed to transferring to USC. So this is a true audition for Moss.

If he is able to command the offense, lead some long, sustained drives, create a couple of explosive plays, and gel with his young receiving corps, he can provide some security for next season.

When asked last week after practice, Moss said that regardless of who transfers in he plans on being at USC next year (again, a true Trojan). But in this new era of NIL, it would be great for Riley and the program to know what they truly have in Moss.

Riley has said multiple times that they are really high on Moss, and have full confidence in him at the helm. But it is impossible to really know until you see him in live-game action. If he proves that he can handle it, even with less talent around him and a chaotic 6 weeks with an overhaul to the defense, it could save USC a lot of money at the QB position and allow them to go after other positions of need (would still need to add a QB or two to the room, but could spend a lot less).

Every USC fan loves Miller Moss. Everyone knows his heart and believes that he is one of the better backups in the nation. But on Wednesday night he has the opportunity to become the next USC Trojans quarterback. A position of pride and lore.

We get to watch it all unfold on Wednesday, December 27th at Petco Park in San Diego at 5:00 PM.