NCAA Football: DI Football Championship-South Dakota State vs North Dakota State

USC is hiring North Dakota State head coach Matt Entz as its linebackers coach, Trojans coach Lincoln Riley announced Sunday. Entz spent the past five years leading the Bison, amassing a 60-10 record and winning the FCS national title in 2019 and 2021. 

The move marks an outside-the-box hire for Riley and new defensive coordinator D'Anton Lynn as the Trojans seek to bolster a defense that surrendered 34.9 points points per game during the 2023 regular season. NDSU is set to play Montana in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs this Saturday, and Entz will remain with NDSU through the duration of the postseason. 

Riley fired defensive coordinator Alex Grinch and replaced him with Lynn, who spent this season in the same role for UCLA after several seasons as an NFL assistant.

Though Entz has never worked for an FBS program, his addition gives USC a proven winner from a defensive background. Prior to taking over as North Dakota State's head coach in 2019, Entz served as the program's defensive coordinator from 2014-18, giving him a decade of high-level experience with an FCS powerhouse. 

"Having a championship-caliber staff is instrumental to the success of our team," Riley said. "By welcoming Matt Entz, a championship-winning head coach and outstanding defensive mind, we are bolstering our defensive staff. He is going to be an excellent addition to the USC football program." 

There is recent precedent for a similar move leading to upward mobility in the coaching profession. After leading Montana State to the FCS semifinals in 2019, Jeff Choate left to become the co-defensive coordinator at Texas. He was recently named the head coach at Nevada.