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Notre Dame Football Summer Opponent Q&A: USC Trojans

Dina Colunga from Conquest Chronicles talks up USC’s upcoming year after losing some great talent from last year.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The latest chapter in one of college football’s best rivalries between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the USC Trojans will end Notre Dame’s regular season on November 24th in Los Angeles. How will USC rebound after Sam Darnold’s jump to the NFL?

For the answer to that question and more, I had a little chat with Dina Colunga: managing editor of Conquest Chronicles, SBN’s USC site.

1. What’s your overall impression of how USC’s 2017 season went?

2017 was a success in my book. I know a lot of fans had the expectation of going to the playoff and so did I, but just because we didn’t make it doesn’t make that season a bust. We won a PAC 12 Championship, something that USC hadn’t done since 2008. We finished the season 11-3, Ronald Jones broke the rushing records of Reggie Bush and OJ Simpson, Lendale White, and Mike Garrett. Sam Darnold broke the single season passing record. We had two All-Americans in Uchenna Nwosu and Ronald Jones. I don’t know how anyone could look at that and think 2017 was a bad season or even mediocre.

2. Will USC be better or worse in 2018?

I don’t like answering questions like this because in the crazy world of college football literally anything can happen. Will 2017 be a hard season to beat? Yes, but is it impossible? No.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

3. What’s going to be the biggest change between last year’s USC team and this one?

The quarterback. Sam Darnold has cemented himself as a Trojan legend so not having him is going to be the biggest change.

4. Who are the big name players to watch for USC this year?

JT Daniels the incoming freshman QB from Mater Dei for sure. Stephen Carr one of our RB’s who had his tremendous breakout game against Stanford last year. Our LB’s Porter Gustin and Cam Smith are the two most important veteran leaders on this team. Gustin is coming off an injury and is set to have a monster season if he stays healthy.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

5. What’s your prediction for this team’s game against Notre Dame this year?

I feel that quarterback play will be key. Whoever Notre Dame and USC settle on at QB will have to lead and finish scoring drives. If both can do that it will be a close one, if one falters it might be a blow out.

For more on the Trojans, give a read.