USC Football news and information. Schedules, rosters, depth chart, recruiting, history...everything the Trojan Football fan needs.

USC Stays on Road to Play at Washington State

ABC USC, looking to bounce back from its second last-second defeat of 2014, remains on the road this week when it travels to pass-happy Washington State to begin the final month of the regular season. The Trojans have lost only 3 times ever in Pullman, but they haven’t played there since 2010 (it will be Troy’s first visit to the recently-renovated Martin Stadium). USC also has won nearly 85% of the time in the all-time series against the Cougars. Rain is in the long-range forecast. USC has a bye following the Washington State game. This is the first season in Trojan history that USC has dropped a pair of games when foes scored a game-winning touchdown within the final 8 seconds. Troy’s 3 losses in 2014 have been by a total of 13 points. USC sports a balanced offense, led by QB Cody Kessler, whose 70.2% completion mark is above the school season record. He is ninth in the country in passing efficiency (20 TDs to just 2 picks) and already in the USC Top 10 in career completions, passing yards and total offense. TB Javorius Allen, USC’s latest 1,000-yard season rusher, leads the Pac-12 in rushing and all-purpose yardage (no player in the nation has at least 1,000 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards like he does). His current string of 5 straight 100-yard outings is a first at USC since 2005. WR Nelson Agholor, who doubles as a dangerous punt returner (3 career TDs), caught a personal-best 10 passes last week at Utah and now is 15th nationally in receptions. Speaking of dangerous returners, CB Adoree’ Jackson is the nation’s No. 5 kick returner after his 100-yard runback at Utah. The 3-way player (he has played some wideout on offense) is among 11 true freshmen who have played key roles for head coach Steve Sarkisian this season, including 8 who have posted 31 starts. USC’s depth keeps dwindling as injuries take their toll on a roster with NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations (in fact, no more than 57 recruited scholarship players have suited up for any game in 2014 and only 48 were on hand at Utah). Some of USC’s best players are on defense, including All-American DE Leonard Williams, ILB Hayes Pullard (Troy’s tackle leader for a third season who has made 341 career stops) and always-around-the-ball 2013 Freshman All-American S-turned-OLB Su’a Cravens. USC is in the national Top 25 in red zone defense, turnover margin and third down conversion defense; no Trojan foe has scored on its opening possession this season. WSU head coach Mike Leach’s squad is coming off its third straight loss, this time at home to Arizona last Saturday. Leach loves to fill the air with footballs, so it is no surprise that his Cougars top the nation in passing offense (nearly 500 yards a game) and are seventh in total offense. But the Cougs’ running game averages just 45.9 yards, next to last in the country WSU’s offensive star is QB Connor Halliday, who threw for an NCAA record 734 yards against California this year. He leads the nation in total offense, completions, passing TDs, passing yards and points responsible for. He also is WSU’s career record holder for passing yards, TD passes, completions and attempts. WSU wideouts River Cracraft, Vince Mayle and Isiah Myers already each have 50-plus catches and all rank in the national Top 25 in receptions and receiving yardage. CB Daquawn Brown and junior LB Darryl Monroe are Washington State’s top tacklers. The game will air live on Pac-12 Networks. The Women of Troy soccer team plays at Washington State the day after the USC-WSU football game. USC Media Release (pdf)

USC Falls to #19 Utah in Final Minutes

ABC Travis Wilson gave Utah its biggest victory since joining the Pac-12 four years ago – and earned a little job security, too. Wilson threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kaelin Clay with 8 seconds left to give No. 19 Utah a 24-21 victory over No. 20 Southern California on Saturday night. “It’s so amazing,” Wilson said. “Words can’t really describe how I’m feeling right now.” The 6-foot-7 Wilson lost the starting job to Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson last week before taking over in the second half in a 29-23 double-overtime victory at Oregon State. Wilson put the Utes (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) in position for the winning touchdown when he was flushed from the pocket and scrambled 19 yards, diving as he approached the goal line. The play was initially ruled a touchdown, but was overturned on review – giving Utah the ball a foot from the end zone. “I was actually just headed toward the sideline but I saw a little bit more room and I made an extra effort to get the end zone,” Wilson said. Devontae Booker was stopped just short on the next play before Wilson’s touchdown pass to Clay on a sprint-out to the right side – a catch that also was reviewed before it was confirmed. “I’m so emotional right now,” Clay said. “I grew up cheering for USC and to score the winning touchdown against them is really special.” After Adoree’ Jackson returned the kickoff to the USC 28, the Trojans’ last-gasp effort was snuffed when Cody Kessler was sacked by Nate Orchard and Hunter Dimick on the final play. “That was a gut-check,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, whose team is bowl eligible for the first time in three seasons. “USC is one talented team, probably the best talent man-for-man in the conference but we slugged it out with them for 60 minutes.” Black-clad Utes fans streamed onto the field around some of the Trojans players, who stood motionless, stunned at another last-second loss. “”That’s our season right now,” USC coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We’re living and dying by these moments. It obviously hurts a lot when you lose the way we lost tonight.” Southern California dropped to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-12. USC lost to Arizona State on a Hail Mary play and escaped with a victory over Arizona when the Wildcats missed a last-second 36-yard field goal. Wilson was 18-for-32 passing for 194 yards and Booker had his fourth straight 100-yard game with 102 yards. “I’m speechless right now,” Booker said. “We came out here tonight and it started rough, but we came back and fought our butt off to win this game.” Kessler completed 24 of 32 attempts for 264 yards and Javorius Allen ran for 101 yards, but the Trojans couldn’t convert a late fourth down after opting not to kick a field goal with a 21-17 lead. Utah forced the turnover on downs with 2:08 to play when Nelson Agholor stepped out of bounds a yard short of the first-down marker at the Utah 27. After USC gained only 44 yards of total offense in the second and third quarters, Kessler capped a 12-play, 73-yard touchdown drive with a four-yard TD pass to Darreus Rogers to give USC a 21-17 lead with 10:18 left. Utah linebacker Jason Fanaika intercepted a ball after it glanced off Agholor’s hands. Three plays later, Booker finally broke loose and ran 24 yards for a touchdown just before the end of the third quarter for a 17-14 Utah lead. “We wanted to come out here and establish who we are, and let everyone know what Utah is all about,” Fanaika said. The conference and the country are starting to take notice as Utah takes a prime position on the Pac-12 South race. Clay took a punt 51 yards to the 16 after running into one of his own blockers. But three plays later, Jackson pried the ball loose from receiver Tim Patrick just shy of the goal line and recovered in the end zone to deny the Utes for the second time at the 1. After Andy Phillips’ field goal gave Utah a 10-7 lead, Jackson returned a kickoff from deep in his end zone down the right sideline for a touchdown. On the second play from scrimmage, Kessler threw a lateral pass to Rogers, who had it glance off his hands and figured it was a forward pass. The ball bounded around on the field before Davion Orphey alerted picked it up and ran 53 yards past the stunned Trojans offense, just beating Kessler to the end zone. Even though Kessler left the game for a couple plays after a hard hit, the junior quarterback led a touchdown drive the other way, culminating in a 10-yard scoring pass to JuJu Smith for a 7-7 tie. Utah missed an opportunity later in the first quarter when Booker fumbled at 1. Kessler also lost the ball after driving to the Utah 27 in the second quarter. The game marked the first time two ranked teams met in Rice-Eccles Stadium since Utah lost to TCU 47-7 in 2010. Utah fans marked the occasion with the largest home crowd in school history at 47,619. AP Recap | Final Stats | Photo Gallery | Post-Game Presser

USC Goes to Utah

ABC In a battle of Top 20 teams from the Pac-12′s South Division, No. 20 USC travels to No. 19 Utah for a primetime showdown on FOX Sports 1. It is only USC’s fourth trip ever to Salt Lake City and just the second since 1917. Rice-Eccles Stadium should be sold out for the 29th consecutive time. The Pac-12′s top two rushers will be on the loose in the game. Utah had extra time to prepare for the Trojans as it won in overtime at Oregon State last Thursday, while USC is coming off a huge Homecoming victory over Colorado in which QB Cody Kessler threw a school-record 7 TDs. Kessler has 18 TD passes and just 1 interception while hitting 69.5% of his aerials (above the school standard) this year, and he shows up in the national Top 20 in completion percentage, passing efficiency, passing TDs and completions. USC’s strong ground attack (5 games with 200-plus yards) is led TB Javorius Allen, the Pac-12′s rushing and all-purpose yardage leader who is on the verge of eclipsing the 1,000-yard rushing barrier this season. He is the only player in the country with at least 900 rushing and 250 receiving yards in 2014, and he is the first Trojan since 2005 to post 6 100-yard rushing games in a season. Head coach Steve Sarkisian’s up-tempo offense also features WR Nelson Agholor, who is among the country’s leaders in receptions and receiving TDs (he had 3 scoring grabs last week). The USC defense–behind All-American DE Leonard Williams, ILB Hayes Pullard (Troy’s tackle leader for a third season) and ball-hawking, tackles-for-a-loss-making 2013 Freshman All-American S Su’a Cravens–continues to excel in stopping opponents in the red zone and on third downs and in taking away the ball. USC has yet to suit up more than 57 recruited scholarship players in 2014 because of NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations, so 11 true freshmen have played significant roles this season and 8 have started. Veteran Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham’s team is only 2 points from being undefeated in 2014. Junior QBs Travis Wilson, who has almost 4,000 passing yards with 30 TD throws in his career, and Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson share time and have helped the Utes rank 21st nationally in scoring offense. The top pass catchers are WRs Kenneth Scott and Dres Anderson, who has 2,047 career receiving yards. JC transfer RB Devontae Booker, who had 229 rushing yards at Oregon State, is No. 19 in the nation in rushing (second in the Pac-12 behind USC’s Allen). The Utes strong defense leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss and also is in the Top 20 in turnover margin and rushing defense. DE Nate Orchard, a 3-year starter, is second nationally in both sacks and tackles for loss, while DE Hunter Dimick (sacks) and LB Jared Norris (tackles for loss) also rank high in the national stats. Utah’s superb special teams play features 2013 All-Pac-12 P Tom Hackett, who is third nationally in punting, PK Andy Phillips, a one-time U.S. ski team member who is fourth nationally in field goals and sixth in scoring, and WR Kaelin Clay, who is fourth in the nation in punt returns and has returned 3 punts and a kickoff for TDs this year. USC Media Release (pdf)

Kessler sets TD mark in #22 USC’s 56-28 win

ABC Cody Kessler set a school single-game record with seven touchdown passes, throwing five in the first half of No. 22 Southern California’s 56-28 victory over Colorado on Saturday. Nelson Agholor caught three TD passes from Kessler, who broke the mark previously held by Matt Barkley. He passed the record on a 24-yard TD pass to Steven Mitchell, who made a diving catch in the third quarter of a blowout victory for the Trojans (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12). Kessler also became the first Pac-12 quarterback to throw seven TD passes in the first three quarters of a game, and the junior tied the conference record for TD passes in a non-overtime game. He finished 17 of 24 for 318 yards. Nelson Spruce and Shay Fields each caught TD passes for Colorado (2-5, 0-4). Sefo Liufau had 143 yards passing with two interceptions before being replaced on the final drive of the third quarter by Jordan Gehrke. Barkley threw six TD passes in four different games, first setting the record against the Buffaloes in 2011 and matching that total in Colorado’s last visit to the Coliseum in 2012. And while their previous two games were decided in dramatic fashion in the final seconds, the Trojans ended any doubt of a close game by racing out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter while much of the homecoming crowd was still filing into the Coliseum. Kessler found Agholor for touchdown passes of 16 yards on USC’s opening possession. He then hit Agholor from 18 yards out, just six plays after linebacker Su’a Cravens intercepted Liufau’s first pass attempt. Freshmen JuJu Smith and Bryce Dixon added scoring receptions from 7 and 15 yards out as Kessler went 11 of 14 for 159 yards and four touchdowns in the first quarter. With a 9-yard pass to Dixon late in the second quarter, Kessler became the third USC quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in the first half. Barkley did it on three occasions, while Mark Sanchez hit that mark in 2008. Agholor added his third TD reception early in the third quarter, finishing with six catches for 128 yards. Running back Javorius Allen added 128 yards on 15 carries, scoring on a 39-yard run. Spruce tied the Colorado single-season record set by Derek McCoy in 2003 with 11 TD catches. Spruce, who grew up in the north Los Angeles suburb of Westlake Village, caught nine passes for 69 yards and threw a 17-yard pass to Liufau to set up a second-quarter touchdown run by Michael Adkins. AP Recap | Final Stats | Photo Gallery | Post-Game Presser

USC Welcomes Colorado in Homecoming Game

ABC No. 22 USC, coming off a bounce-back nail-biting victory at No. 10 Arizona that propelled Troy back into first place in the Pac-12 South standings, begins the second half of regular season play by hosting Colorado on Homecoming/Reunion weekend in a game to be shown live on Pac-12 Networks. The Trojans and Buffaloes have played only 8 times in history and USC has never lost, including last year’s win in 29 degrees in Boulder. Colorado is making only its second visit to the Coliseum since 2000. USC’s offense features a strong ground attack (4 games with 200-plus rushing yards this year), led by TB Javorius Allen, who tops the Pac-12 (and is in the national Top 25) in rushing, all-purpose yards and rushing TDs after his 205-yard, 3-TD outing at Arizona. He is the only player in the country with at least 750 rushing and 250 receiving yards in 2014, and he is the first Trojan since Reggie Bush and LenDale White to post 5 100-yard rushing games in a season. QB Cody Kessler (11 TDs, 1 interception, 69.1% completion rate) efficiently directs head coach Steve Sarkisian’s up-tempo offense as he moves up USC’s career passing and total offense charts. WR Nelson Agholor is among the country’s leaders in receptions and punt returns (he, too, is advancing up USC career lists in those categories). The USC defense–behind All-American DE Leonard Williams, ILB Hayes Pullard (likely headed to be Troy’s tackle leader for a third season) and ball-hawking 2013 Freshman All-American S Su’a Cravens–is doing a very good job stopping opponents in the red zone and on third downs and is also taking away the ball a lot. USC has yet to suit up more than 57 recruited scholarship players in 2014 because of NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations, which means true freshmen are everywhere on the field (11 have played significant roles this season and 7 have started, including 3-way player Adoree’ Jackson). Colorado second-year head coach Mike MacIntyre’s team is coming off a bye week following a 36-31 home loss to Oregon State. CU is winless in 2014 league play. The Buffalo offense is 14th nationally in passing offense behind the arm of sophomore QB Sefo Liufau, who is in the nation’s Top 11 in completions, passing TDs, total offense and passing yards. Last month versus California, he set school single game records for completions, TD passes and total offense. Most of his throws go to WR Nelson Spruce, who caught a school-record 19 passes against Cal and now leads the country in receiving TDs (10) and receptions (he also is fifth in receiving yards and 15th in scoring). A trio of sophs–FS Chidobe Awuzie, ILB Addison Gillam and SS Tedric Thompson–anchor the CU defense. The Women of Troy’s soccer and volleyball teams also will be in action at home this weekend. And ESPN personality Colin Cowherd’s popular “The Herd” radio and TV show will originate from campus on Friday morning. USC Media Release (pdf)

Trojans Upset #10 Arizona

ABC Javorius Allen ran for 205 yards and three touchdowns, and USC survived a last-second field goal try to knock off No. 10 Arizona 28-26 on Saturday night. USC (4-2, 3-1 Pac-12) left the Coliseum defeated and deflated a week ago after losing to Arizona State on a Hail Mary. The Trojans were headed toward another stinging loss after Jared Baker scored on a 1-yard with 1:07 left and Caleb Jones recovered the onside kick. With the crowd roaring for another improbable victory, the Wildcats came up short when Casey Skowron missed his third field goal of the night, a 36-yarder that sailed wide right with 17 seconds left. Arizona (5-1, 2-1) struggled with red-zone issues in the first half before mounting their comeback. Baker scored all three of his touchdowns in the second half, but was stuffed by USC’s Leonard Williams on the 2-point try before the final flurry. Anu Solomon threw for 395 yards and a touchdown for Arizona, which started the game without leading rusher Nick Wilson and lost Terris Jones-Grigsby late in the first half. Arizona has had an emotional couple of weeks, rallying to beat California on a Hail Mary and knocking off then-No. 2 Oregon on the road last week. The win over the Ducks vaulted the Wildcats from out of The Associated Press poll to No. 10 this week, the largest jump since the poll went to 25 teams in 1989. Arizona’s task was to avoid a letdown against the Trojans, who road into the desert with a different set of emotions after Arizona State’s Hail Mary. Oddsmakers predicated a Wildcats’ hangover, installing them as 2 1/2-point underdogs despite being undefeated and playing at home. The Trojans played like favorites from the start, moving the ball successfully against an Arizona defense that contained the Ducks a week ago, particularly when they gave the ball to Allen. The junior running back turned an inside handoff into a 34-yard touchdown run by bouncing it outside in the first quarter, then burst through a hole for a 48-yard score in the second. Gaining yards was not a problem for Arizona. Scoring touchdowns was. The Wildcats crossed USC’s 20 four times in the first half and came away with six points. Skowron made two field goals, missed one and had another blocked. Arizona also lost a fumble late in the half, when Williams crushed Jones-Grisby at the 7-yard line to pop the ball loose. USC led 14-6 at halftime in a game that was more defensive than anticipated. Once the second half started, so did the offensive fireworks. Kessler found Nelson Agholor on a 21-yard touchdown pass and Allen scored his third touchdown on a 1-yard run, putting the Trojans up 28-13. Arizona finally the end zone in the third quarter, when Baker scored on a 6-yard run, four plays after the Wildcats recovered Justin Davis’ fumble at USC’s 22. Baker scored again early in the fourth quarter, turning a fourth-and-3 into a 41-yard touchdown reception out of the backfield that cut USC’s lead to 28-20. AP Recap | Final Stats | Photo Gallery

USC Goes to Undefeated #10 Arizona

ABC After a 2-game homestand that ended with a stunning Hail Mary TD loss to Arizona State last Saturday, USC now has to go back on the road to play undefeated No. 10 Arizona. The Trojans have captured more than 75% of their games against the Wildcats, including 6 of the past 8 meetings in Tucson, in a series that dates to 1916. But the last 7 USC-Arizona games have been decided by a touchdown or less, including last year’s Trojan victory on a Thursday in the Coliseum when interim head coach Ed Orgeron made his debut. Guiding the Trojans this year is new head coach Steve Sarkisian, who favors an up-tempo no huddle offense and an aggressive defense. Troy’s offense, which has already has eclipsed 200 rushing yards 3 times this year, has gone the past 4 games without a turnover, its best streak since 1995. QB Cody Kessler has thrown 182 passes without an interception dating to last year and his 69.5% completion rate this year is No. 7 nationally. TB Javorius Allen, who has a quartet of 100-yard rushing games in 2014, leads the Pac-12 in rushing and is seventh in the country in all-purpose running. WR Nelson Agholor is USC’s top receiver and is a dangerous returner, as evidenced by his punt return TD last week (giving him a school record-tying 3 in his career). The Trojan defense features All-American DE Leonard Williams, ILB Hayes Pullard (Troy’s current tackle leader as well as in 2 previous seasons) and always-around-the-ball 2013 Freshman All-American S Su’a Cravens, who already has 8.5 tackles for a loss in 2014 to go with his 5 career picks. The USC defense is in the national Top 25 in third down conversion defense, turnover margin, interceptions, red zone defense, scoring defense and first down defense. USC has yet to suit up more than 57 recruited scholarship players in 2014 because of NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations. Seven true freshmen have played significant roles for Troy (all have started at times), including 3-way player Adoree’ Jackson. Head coach Rich Rodriguez’s Arizona squad is off to its best start since 1998 after posting a road upset last Thursday at No. 2 Oregon. The Wildcats’ spread offense is potent: in the Top 20 nationally in total offense (574.0), passing offense (350.0) and scoring offense (39.8). And UA has run for at least 100 yards in 27 consecutive games. Redshirt freshman QB Anu Solomon, who earlier this season set the Pac-12 record for total offense (566 yards) against California, is No. 4 in the nation in total offense and No. 7 in passing offense. WR Cayleb Jones, who is sixth nationally in receiving TDs and 14th in receiving yards, tops a Wildcats receiving corps that also features WRs Nate Phillips and Austin Hill, who has a catch in 22 straight contests. First-year frosh TB Nick Wilson, 18th nationally in rushing, is UA’s leading ground gainer. MLB Scooby Wright III (58 tac, 8 for loss, 5 sack, 1 FR, 2 FF) does it all for the Wildcat defense, as he ranks high nationally in total tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, solo tackles and forced fumbles. The game will be shown live on ESPN2. USC Media Release (pdf)

USC Defeated by Arizona State in Final Minutes

ABC Jaelen Strong caught a 46-yard touchdown pass from Mike Bercovici as time expired, and Arizona State scored three TDs in the final 3:53 to shock No. 16 Southern California 38-34 on Saturday night. Bercovici capped his 510-yard, five-touchdown passing performance with his third scoring pass to Strong, who slipped in front of USC’s Hayes Pullard at the goal line and pulled in the Hail Mary throw. Arizona State’s bench stormed the field to celebrate the first win at the Coliseum since 1999 for the Sun Devils (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12). Cody Kessler passed for 273 yards for the Trojans (3-2, 2-1), who led 34-25 with 3 minutes to play. USC recovered two onside kicks and got a 53-yard TD run by Buck Allen in the final minutes, but the Trojans’ pass defense still couldn’t stop Bercovici in his second start. Kessler scrambled for an 8-yard TD in the fourth quarter, and Allen rushed for 143 yards and two TDs for the Trojans, who appeared to be on the way to an impressive win. USC’s defense held the Pac-12′s best rushing offense to 31 yards, a whopping 231 below its average. But the Trojans, who hadn’t allowed a passing touchdown all season, couldn’t do a thing about Bercovici with the game on the line. Arizona State burned its three timeouts in the third quarter and couldn’t get rolling on offense until a drive starting at its 2 with 6:26 to play. Bercovici hit D.J. Foster with a 21-yard touchdown pass with 3:53 to play, capping a 98-yard march. Randall Telfer recovered the onside kick before Allen broke straight up the middle for his second scoring run. But Bercovici hit Cameron Smith for a 73-yard score moments later when cornerback Kevon Seymour gambled on an interception Pullard recovered another onside kick, but USC couldn’t move the ball. Arizona State got it back with 23 seconds left, and Bercovici hit Gary Chambers for 26 yards before launching his final throw into a thicket of USC defenders – and watching Strong emerge untouched with a TD. Arizona State has won three of the schools’ last four meetings, including a 62-41 victory in Tempe last season that led to USC coach Lane Kiffin’s firing a few hours later. New coach Steve Sarkisian’s first loss to the Sun Devils also stings in a totally different way. Bercovici hit Strong for a 77-yard TD midway through the second quarter while making his second straight start in place of injured Taylor Kelly. The San Fernando Valley product followed up his record-setting, 488-yard passing performance last week in a loss to UCLA with an even bigger night. With the game-time temperature at 93 degrees during California’s October heat wave, Nelson Agholor injected excitement into the first quarter with a 53-yard TD punt return straight up the middle of Arizona State’s coverage unit. USC’s receivers struggled with several early drops. Darreus Rogers was wide open when he botched a sure TD throw from Kessler in the second quarter. After the teams traded field goals in the third quarter, Kessler and Allen led a 79-yard scoring drive to open the fourth. Kessler avoided a sack and scrambled 8 yards through the heart of Arizona State’s defense, taking hits and stretching over the goal line. Arizona State burned its three timeouts in the first 13 minutes of the second half, preventing the Sun Devils from challenging a third-down incompletion call that appeared to be a catch late in the third quarter to put USC up 27-18. AP Recap | Final Stats | Photo Gallery | Post-Game Presser

USC Hosts Arizona State

ABC No. 16-ranked USC, coming off a needed bounce back home victory over Oregon State, begins October play by hosting reigning Pac-12 South Division champion Arizona State live on FOX. The Sun Devils have not beaten the Trojans in Los Angeles since 1999, dropping their past 7 Coliseum visits. However, the last time the teams met, not only did the Sun Devils put up 62 points to win in 2013, but then-USC head coach Lane Kiffin was fired after the game. USC is 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 2007 and Trojan seasons historically have gone well after 2-0 starts. It’s the only time that USC plays two consecutive home games in 2014. New head coach Steve Sarkisian’s Trojans sport an up-tempo offense and an aggressive defense. QB Cody Kessler, who has not thrown an interception this year while hitting 72.0% of his aerials, is in the national Top 25 in completion percentage, completions, passing efficiency and passing TDs. TB Javorius Allen, who ranks high nationally in rushing and all-purpose running, has had 100 yards either rushing or receiving in every game this season. WR Nelson Agholor’s name shows up in the Trojan career Top 25 in receptions and punt returns. The Trojan defense is headlined by All-American and current team tackle leader DE Leonard Williams, ILB Hayes Pullard (Troy’s top tackler in 2 previous seasons) and always-around-the-ball 2013 Freshman All-American S Su’a Cravens, who has 5 career picks (including a TD return last week). USC is the only school in the country yet to have surrendered a passing TDs, which figures as the Trojans’ defense is Top 25 statistically in third down conversion defense, pass efficiency defense, turnover margin, pass defense, interceptions, red zone defense, scoring defense and first down defense. Seven true freshmen have played significant roles already for Troy (6 have started), including 3-way player Adoree’ Jackson. USC has yet to suit up more than 57 recruited scholarship players in 2014 because of NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations. Arizona State had a few extra days to prepare for Troy after getting upended by UCLA at home last Thursday, despite rolling up 626 total yards and 38 first downs on 105 plays. It was the first loss of 2014 for head coach Todd Graham’s team. The Sun Devils’ are ninth nationally in total offense (560.8) and 16th in both in scoring offense (42.0) and rushing offense (262.8). Dual-threat QB Taylor Kelly–14th in the nation in passing efficiency–was sidelined against UCLA (his status this week is undetermined), so QB Mike Bercovici filled in and threw for 488 yards and 3 scores. TB D.J. Foster, who has eclipsed 100 rushing yards 5 times in his last 7 games, is in the nation’s Top 10 in all-purpose running and rushing. WR Jaelen Strong, who has 9 career 100-yard receiving games, ranks high in the U.S. in receptions and receiving yards. The Sun Devil defense is led by Ss Damarious Randall, the national leader in solo tackles, and Jordan Simone. PK Zane Gonzalez, who was an All-Pac-12 first teamer as a freshman last year, already has 30 career field goals. The USC men’s water polo and women’s soccer teams host contests this weekend. USC Media Release (pdf)

Trojans Topple Oregon State

ABC Cody Kessler passed for 261 yards and two touchdowns, and Su’a Cravens returned an interception 31 yards for another score in No. 18 Southern California’s 35-10 victory over Oregon State on Saturday night. Darreus Rogers caught a 48-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass at the halftime gun as the Trojans (3-1, 2-0 Pac-12) rebounded smartly from their first loss with solid defense and another stellar game from Kessler, who went 24 for 32 while leading a 461-yard offensive performance. Justin Davis caught a 16-yard TD pass and rushed for a fourth-quarter score for the Trojans. Javorius Allen added 115 yards rushing and a touchdown. Ryan Murphy returned a kickoff 97 yards for a TD for Oregon State (3-1, 0-1), which struggled in its first serious test of the season. Sean Mannion went 15 of 32 for 123 yards with two interceptions for the Beavers, who haven’t won at the Coliseum since 1960. Despite 14 penalties for 124 yards, the Trojans moved the ball steadily when their defense wasn’t thoroughly stifling Oregon State, which played 41 scoreless minutes and managed only 63 yards after taking a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter. The Trojans had a bye after an embarrassing performance in a loss at Boston College knocked them out of the Top 10. The defense returned with a much-improved effort against Oregon State’s versatile offense. Oregon State showed little of its usual offensive pop after three straight victories over lower-tier opponents to open the season, and Mannion didn’t look sharp in the California native’s first appearance at the Coliseum. Cravens put the Trojans ahead less than 10 minutes in when he stepped in front of Mannion’s slow pass and returned it easily for his first career touchdown. But Murphy took the ensuing kickoff straight down the Beavers’ sideline for a TD, making the fifth-longest kick return in school history on his first career return. Davis capped a steady USC drive with his TD catch on a short wheel route midway through the second quarter, putting the Trojans ahead to stay. USC stopped the Beavers’ next drive when Adoree Jackson tipped a pass to Leon McQuay III for an end-zone interception. As the first half ended, Kessler ducked away from several tacklers and launched a pass to the goal line. Several Beavers defenders did little to stop Rogers, whose biggest competition for the ball was from a teammate. After USC largely dominated a scoreless third quarter, Allen ran 17 yards straight up the middle for a score early in the fourth. Davis added a 21-yard TD run with 5:02 to play. USC still hasn’t allowed a touchdown pass this season, and Kessler still hasn’t thrown an interception. The Beavers have lost 23 straight games at the Coliseum. Oregon State lost starting defensive tackle Jalen Grimble, the brother of former USC tight end Xavier Grimble, to a knee injury. AP Recap | Final Stats | Photo Gallery | Post-Game Presser