College football is just weeks away, so there’s no better time to analyze USC football’s upcoming schedule. As usual, the Trojans will face nine conference opponents this season, dodging Oregon and Washington in the Pac-12. In addition, USC will play non-conference home games against Rice and Fresno State, as well as its yearly rivalry game against Notre Dame to cap off the regular season. But, how has USC done in the past against all of these opponents? Let’s take a look at the Trojans’ head-to-head records, their most recent matchup, and an interesting stat and game against each team.
USC’s Past History Against 2022 Opponents
Game 1: Rice
Saturday, September 3 at the Coliseum
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 2-0-1 (.833 win percentage)
Most Recent Game: In 1971, No. 17 USC shut out Rice 24-0 in Houston behind a dominant defensive performance. The Trojans forced six turnovers: two interceptions each by Steve Fate and Alonzo Thomas and two fumble recoveries by Pete Adams.
Notable Matchup/Stat: USC and Rice played to a 7-7 tie at the Coliseum in 1947. Practically the only thing that comes up on Google regarding that contest is game programs being sold on eBay, so that draw must have been an absolute thriller of a football game.
Game 2: @ Stanford
Saturday, September 10 in Palo Alto
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 61-33-3 (.644)
Most Recent Game: In the infamous game that preceded Clay Helton’s firing last season, Stanford stomped USC at the Coliseum 42-28, and the game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score may indicate. Tanner McKee’s efficient stat line included 16-of-23 passing for 234 yards and two touchdowns, as well as another score on the ground.
Notable Matchup/Stat: USC dominated the Cardinal between 1958 and 1990, winning 29 of 33 games with 3 losses and a tie. That tie, however, came in 1979 when the Cardinal came back late to tie No. 1 USC, and practically cost USC a national title. Since 1990, the teams have evenly split their last 32 contests, including a win each head-to-head in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Game 3: Fresno State
Saturday, September 17 at the Coliseum
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 4-1 (.800)
Most Recent Game: In Week 1 of the 2019 season, USC held on late for a 31-23 home win against the Bulldogs. Kedon Slovis made his Trojan debut replacing an injured JT Daniels, Vavae Malepeai had a career day with 134 rushing yards and a touchdown, and Isaiah Pola-Mao made the game-winning interception in the endzone inside the last two minutes.
Notable Matchup/Stat: USC’s one loss against Fresno State came back in 1992 in a 24-7 Freedom Bowl upset. Trent Dilfer and the electric Bulldog offense ran away late, but the story of that game was the Trojans’ ineptitude to do anything against a shaky Fresno State defense. Rob Johnson threw three picks in the final quarter, and USC generated just 183 yards of offense against a defense that had surrendered 30 points per game prior.
Game 4: @ Oregon State
Saturday, September 24 in Corvallis
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 62-10-4 (.842)
Most Recent Game: Last season, USC simply had no answers for Oregon State’s offense, particularly on the ground, in a 45-27 home defeat. The Beavers ran for 322 yards, and Chance Nolan added four touchdowns through the air in a straight-up drubbing of the Trojans. USC also turned the ball over four times, including three Kedon Slovis interceptions.
Notable Matchup/Stat: One of USC’s tougher tests during its 2004 National Championship-winning season came in a 28-20 road win against Derek Anderson and the Beavers. Oregon State jumped out to a 13-0 early lead, but the Trojans answered with 28 unanswered points: two Dominique Byrd touchdown grabs, a Reggie Bush punt return TD, and a Lendale White score to seal the game in the fourth quarter. Since 2000, Oregon State is actually 4-3 vs USC in Corvallis, including three top-10 upsets.
Game 5: Arizona State
Saturday, October 1 at the Coliseum
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 24-14 (.632)
Most Recent Game: In one of last year’s more painful losses for Trojan fans, Arizona State ran all over USC in Tempe for a 31-16 win. Rachaad White ran for 202 yards, half of which came on separate 47-yard and 50-yard touchdown runs. Neither Kedon Slovis nor Jaxson Dart could quite get a rhythm on offense, as the Trojans squandered numerous opportunities in the second half.
Notable Matchup/Stat: One of USC’s best wins against the Sun Devils came in 2007, amidst an 11-game win streak for the Trojans in the head-to-head matchup. No. 11 USC entered as underdogs against No. 7 Arizona State, but the Trojans used 27 unanswered points in the middle quarters to win a 44-24 road blowout in Tempe. John David Booty was outstanding with 375 passing yards and five total touchdowns.
Game 6: Washington State
Saturday, October 8 in Corvallis
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 61-10-4 (.840)
Most Recent Game: Continuing the theme of big runs of unanswered points, USC scored 45 straight to close the game after falling behind 14-0 at Washington State in 2021. After replacing an injured Kedon Slovis, Jaxson Dart passed for 391 yards and four touchdowns passing in his breakout debut. Drake London had arguably the best game of his USC career with 13 catches for 170 yards and two scores.
Notable Matchup/Stat: USC is 6-2 against the Cougars when both teams are ranked and won the only matchup with both teams inside the top 10. That game was during USC’s title-winning season in 2003 when the No. 3 Trojans dominated No. 6 Washington State 43-16 in a battle of 7-1 teams. The Cougars simply couldn’t stop Lendale White, who ran for 149 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries.
Game 7: @ Utah
Saturday, October 15 in Salt Lake City
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 11-5 (.688)
Most Recent Game: Yet again in 2021, USC’s defense was simply awful in a big home loss, this time to Utah by a final of 42-26. That game could be summed up by Cameron Rising’s flea-flicker touchdown pass to Devaughn Vele with 10 seconds left in the first half, as the Trojan defense just seemed out of focus all evening.
Notable Matchup/Stat: USC had never lost to Utah at the Coliseum before that 2021 game, going 8-0 prior. Of those, the game that might stand out to Trojan fans the most would be unranked USC’s 2015 upset of undefeated No. 3 Utah. Cameron Smith had three of the Trojans’ four interceptions, including a pick-six, and USC had four touchdowns on the ground on its way to a 42-24 win.
Game 8: @ Arizona
Saturday, October 29 in Tucson
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 30-8 (.789)
Most Recent Game: Despite USC winning the game 41-34, last year’s USC-Arizona game is more remembered as the game when Drake London fractured his ankle, ending his season that was on pace to shatter all kinds of records. Kedon Slovis and Jaxson Dart threw for two touchdowns each, and Keaontay Ingram ran for 204 yards and a score.
Notable Matchup/Stat: USC has won 18 of its last 20 games against Arizona, the largest victory being a 45-0 thrashing in 2003 on the road. Matt Leinart threw four touchdown passes, with three caught by Mike Williams, and Lendale White added two more scores on the ground.
Game 9: Cal
Saturday, November 5 at the Coliseum
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 70-27-4 (.713)
Most Recent Game: In possibly the most meaningless college football game ever played, Cal beat USC 24-14 at 8 pm on Conference Championship Saturday last season. If you weren’t one of the very few people watching that game (for good reason), you didn’t miss out on much.
Notable Matchup/Stat: USC has played Cal more than any other school — over 100 times. Of those games, perhaps none had the same combination of star power and national championship consequences as the 2004 matchup between the programs. The game featured two undefeated, top-10 teams and three of the top 10 Heisman finishers: winner Matt Leinart along with JJ Arrington and Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers tied a record that day with 23 straight completions to open the game, but it was his three straight incompletions inside the USC red zone that allowed the Trojans to hold on and win 23-17. The Trojans would go on to win that year’s national championship, but it just as easily could’ve been the Golden Bears in the same spot that season.
Game 10: Colorado
Friday, November 11 at the Coliseum
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 15-0 (1.000)
Most Recent Game: The USC offense had one of its best performances of 2021 in Boulder. In a dominant start-to-finish performance, Drake London and Keaontay Ingram led the way with 130 and 141 total yards, respectively, with London adding a fantastic touchdown catch. On the other side, the Trojan defense turned in a great performance as well, with five sacks and two turnovers, allowing just 242 total yards.
Notable Matchup/Stat: USC has never lost against the Buffaloes, and 11 of its 15 wins have come by double digits. Perhaps the most dramatic game between the two occurred in 2019 when the Trojans needed two big touchdown passes from Kedon Slovis to Michael Pittman Jr. in order to come back late and beat Colorado in Boulder.
Game 11: @UCLA
Saturday, November 19 at the Rose Bowl
Head-to-Head Record: USC leads 51-33-7 (.599)
Most Recent Game: In the highest scoring game in the history of the rivalry, UCLA steamrolled USC at the Coliseum last season 62-33. The Bruins had over 600 yards of offense, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson had six total touchdowns — four passing and two rushing — as the USC defense was just completely outmatched at home, yet again.
Notable Matchup/Stat: After the top-scoring game in the rivalry, why not find the lowest-scoring contest? In 1939, No. 3 USC and No. 9 UCLA played to a scoreless tie. Both teams actually finished that season undefeated, with the Trojans claiming a share of the national title at 8-0-2 after beating Tennessee in the Rose Bowl.
Game 12: Notre Dame
Saturday, November 26 at the Coliseum
Head-to-Head Record: Notre Dame leads 50-37-5 (.429)
Most Recent Game: In 2021, Notre Dame took down USC 31-16 in South Bend, though the game was definitely closer than the final score indicates. The Trojans out-gained the Irish 428-387, but costly offensive mistakes for USC in the red zone proved to be the difference. Drake London and Keaontay Ingram were fabulous as usual with 300 scrimmage yards combined, but not enough to answer Kyren Williams‘ 180 total yards and two touchdowns.
Notable Matchup/Stat: In one of college football’s most storied rivalries, Notre Dame is the only school with a winning record against USC with 10 or more games played. The teams have played 18 times with both ranked in the top 10, including 1988, when the No. 1 Fighting Irish beat the No. 2 Trojans 27-10 at the Coliseum. Lou Holtz’s powerful Notre Dame defense forced four USC turnovers in the first half as the Irish continued their title-winning campaign that season.