The drought has lasted eleven years.
“My whole life I’ve always wanted to beat ‘SC, any way possible,” stated senior offensive lineman Garth Gerhart, who was 11 the last time ASU beat USC. “I don’t care what the score — it can be 2-0. I just want to have a great win.”
The last Sun Devil win in the series came back on November 6, 1999, a 26-15 victory at the Coliseum; and it’s been thirteen years since ASU has been able to celebrate a win over the Trojans at Sun Devil Stadium.
“Anytime USC comes up on your schedule you get excited for it,” quarterback Brock Osweiler said.
Saturday’s game will be special for a number of Osweiler’s teammates. The Arizona State roster is littered with players from Southern California.
“This is the game that their family comes into town,” added Osweiler. “Their family, their friends, old coaches. They know a ton of the kids on the USC team. For the majority of our football team this is a very personal football game.”
And it just happens to be the conference opener, the first PAC-12 game in school history. ASU will try and bounce back from its first loss of the year.
“Shoot this is just one loss,” said Osweiler of the 17-14 defeat at Illinois. “It was a loss against a Big 10 opponent. It means absolutely nothing to the grand scheme of our team goals and that’s winning the PAC-12 South and then winning the PAC-12 Championship. With those being our two team goals we’re excited and ready to go this week.”
While the Sun Devils enter the game with a 2-1 record, USC is 3-0 and ranked #23 by the Associated Press. The Trojans are not eligible to be ranked in the USA Today coaches’ poll.
“The thing about them,” said head coach Dennis Erickson, “they can’t go to a bowl game. They can’t win that championship so they obviously got a chip on their shoulder. They want to win every football game.”
Erickson, who has one win in his coaching career (1-8) against USC, is impressed by what he’s seen on film.
“Talent wise, there isn’t much difference. Obviously their quarterback [Matt] Barkley is a great player. They’ve got more running backs than we have on campus.
“It’s a great program. I think Lane [Kiffin] is doing a great job with the situation. They’ve got really good players. I don’t know when the probation is going to start hurting them but I wish it would hurry.”