The No. 5 USC Trojans (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12 Conference) beat the Arizona State Sun Devils (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12) on Saturday, 42-28 at Mountain America Stadium. The Trojans entered the game as a 33-5-point favorite, while the Sun Devils returned to the field after being shut out by Fresno State.
The Trojans, returning to play after a bye week, won the game with fearless Caleb Williams leading the way, playing the entire game for the first time this season. The Trojans marched 75 yards in 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead over the Sun Devils with a 1-yard run from quarterback Caleb Williams. USC would struggle early with consecutive false starts and delay of game penalties. In the first quarter, the Trojans had six penalties for 35 yards.
ASU running back Cameron Skattebo, with 6:57 left in the first quarter, would find the endzone on a 15-yard run. ASU tied the game, 7-7. With 1:15 left in the first quarter, Williams would drive the offense 87 yards in nine plays and find receiver Brenden Rice for a 43-yard touchdown to give USC a 14-7 lead. Rice, an exemplary receiver for the Trojans, is the offspring of the greatest receiver of all time, Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
In the second quarter, the Sun Devils, determined to score again before the half, would settle for a 35-yard field goal from Dario Longhetto, adding three points to the ASU score, 14-10. Trojan QB Williams would score his second touchdown, a 1-yard run, giving the Trojans a 21-10 lead. With 2:21 left in the second quarter, ASU would hit a 30-yard field goal, as the Trojans continued to lead 21-13 at the half.
ASU would come out strong in the third quarter, sacking Williams. The Trojans would increase their lead with a Denis Lynch 53-yard field goal, up 24-13. The Sun Devils would not go away despite their underdog status. With 75 yards over five plays, they scored on a 25-yard pass from ASU QB Drew Pyne to receiver Elijhah Badger. Their aggression against the Trojans helped them score a 2-point conversion run by ASU running back Cameron Skattebo, 24-21.
The Sun Devils would force another Trojan field goal, a 36-yarder from Denis Lynch, increasing their lead 27-21. The Trojans continued to self-inflict themselves with nine penalties for 70 yards compared to ASU’s three penalties for 11 yards.
In the fourth quarter, Trojan QB Williams did what he does best, scrambling out of trouble and turning the play into Trojan gold: a 29-yard touchdown pass to Brendan Rice. The Trojans converted a 2-point conversion pass to Mario Williams, making it a 35-21 game in favor of the Trojans. ASU continued to fight back with a 52-yard touchdown run by Cameron Skattebo, bringing ASU within seven points, Trojans 35, ASU 28.
The Trojans offense would come roaring back with 75 yards over three plays, Williams finding Tahj Washington on a 45-yard touchdown pass. With a good Denis Lynch extra point, the Trojans led 42-28 with 7:07 left in the fourth quarter.
Trojan quarterback Caleb Williams finished the night with 322 yards, three touchdowns, 20-of-31 passing, and two touchdown runs. Brenden Rice finished with seven receptions, 133 yards, and two touchdowns.
“It’s our first road game. we took a punch to the face, and we punched them back,” Brenden Rice said. “We came out on top, and that all matters.”
The Arizona State matchup was a family affair for Trojans safety Max Williams, who faced his brother Macen Williams, a redshirt junior at Arizona State. Their younger brother Marcelles, a high school senior cornerback, has committed to USC in the fall.
On Saturday, the Trojans move to a 4-0 start and travel to Boulder, CO, to face the Deion Sanders-led Colorado University Buffaloes.