* Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at the Coliseum, Fox Sports West 2.
* Story line: Ted Tollner, USC's coach from 1983 through '86, returns to face the Trojans a dozen years later, in his fifth season at San Diego State. Paul Hackett, the latest coach to try to take the USC program back to sustained greatness, has an opportunity for a 2-0 start.
* USC update: Young quarterbacks Mike Van Raaphorst and Carson Palmer will both play, with Van Raaphorst starting. This time, they have an extra weapon--star receiver R. Jay Soward, who makes his 1988 debut after a one-game academic suspension. The Trojans have to adjust after losing No. 2 tailback Malaefou MacKenzie to knee surgery. Junior Petros Papadakis and freshman Frank Strong will get carries behind starter Chad Morton.
* San Diego State update: The young Aztecs open with three ranked teams. They play USC after a season-opening loss to No. 17 Wisconsin and play No. 21 Arizona on Sept. 24. Sophomore quarterback Spencer Brinton had a shaky outing against Wisconsin with two interceptions. Like USC, San Diego State counts on defense, and defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila from Crenshaw High is the Aztecs' leader.
* Edge to USC: Trojans will have speed advantages all over the field and a more experienced team as well. Both offenses are young, but USC has game-breakers in Soward and Morton.
* The line: USC by 19.