LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans went through the final on-campus practice Thursday before boarding buses for their flight to New Jersey for Saturday’s game against Syracuse.
While it will be USC ’s first road game of the season, the fact that it is to be played at MetLife Stadium -- home of the New York Giants and Jets -- and not at the Carrier Dome on Syracuse’s campus will make the crowd noise far less of a factor than normal for USC road games.
“Normally it takes out the crowd factor because the crowd’s mixed,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “I would think in this one there would be more Syracuse than USC [fans], but you’ll also have another third that’s going to the game just for the event, not for one side. So I wouldn’t think crowd noise would be a factor.”
Three years ago Syracuse announced a deal with MetLife Stadium to play USC this season, Penn State in 2013 and Notre Dame in 2014 and 2016 at the venue, as well as 10 additional football games to be scheduled at the East Rutherford, N.J., facility between 2019 and 2038.
USC has tried to drum up support for the team in New York leading up to the game by purchasing electronic signage in Times Square and tweeting out the hashtag #WePlayBroadway. The USC Trojan Marching Band also will conduct a live performance in Times Square on Friday.
On Friday at MetLife Stadium, Kiffin will lead the Trojans in what will be his first walk-through as a USC coach. He said the extra day and close proximity from the team’s hotel to the stadium made it an easy choice and will keep the team focused the day before the game.
The significance of playing at MetLife Stadium and getting exposure in New York, however, was downplayed by Kiffin, who said it might be significant to everyone else but his team.
“I think for our fans, for our players’ families, for our university [that’s important],” Kiffin said. “Not for us. I don’t even know if these kids know for sure where they’re playing. This is about the 11 guys out there executing really well, and we plan on doing that.”