11/7/20 LOS ANGELES, CA - The #20 rank USC Trojans football team took the field to play their first game of the 2020 season in the Pac-12 conference by taking on Herm Edwards and the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
USC head coach Clay Helton knows that this season the Trojans must play well to keep the heat off of him and make it to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Despite a disappointing season for the Trojans, their quarterback Kedon Slovis had a great year with 3502 yards passing and 30 touchdowns.
This was the first time that a USC football team had to play a game at 9 a.m. in the morning since the 1950s, and a lot of media in Southern California a first for many of them as well, but coach Helton was just glad to be playing football.
"We believe in just putting the ball down. We were just grateful for the opportunity to be on a national stage, to be able to go out and play a good Arizona State team. Just to be here. I told the guys in the locker room I don't care how old I get this is one of those games I'll never forget, and I'll never forget this team. For all the things they've dealt with in 2020, the fighters that they are, and the competitive people that they are, it didn't matter if that game was at 9 a.m. or 9 p.m. We wanted to have the opportunity to play the game we love, we got that opportunity and we found a way to make the most of it."
The Sun Devils scored in the first quarter after Christian Zendejas kicked a 38-yard field goal that made the score 3-0. The Trojans got the first break of the game when the Sun Devils muff the punt and recovered by USC on the eighteen-yard line.
The Trojans had a golden opportunity to put more points on the board, but Arizona State Safety Evan Field forced a fumble at the goal line, and the Sun Devils recovered the football in the end zone.
USC took the lead 7-3 after tailback Steven Carr scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and the extra point was good with 3:30 left in the first quarter. The Sun Devils regained the lead 10-7 in the second quarter after tailback Chip Trayanum scored on a 25-yard touchdown run.
The Trojans responded to the Sun Devils score when their tailback Markese Stepp score on a 1-yard touchdown run that gave them a 14-10 lead with 6:10 left in the first half.
Arizona State bounced back and regained the lead 17-14 after their quarterback Jayden Daniels threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Rachaad White. The Trojans' defense forced a fumble and recovered the football on the Sun Devils 25-yard line.
USC gave the ball right back after Kedon Slovis was intercepted by linebacker Merlin Robertson at Arizona State 24-yard line. The first half ended with the Sun Devils leading 17-14.
In the third quarter, Arizona State's Trayanum scored his second touchdown of the game on a 17-yard touchdown run, increasing the Sun Devils' lead to 24-14.
The Sun Devils' defense continued to make plays, and non may have been bigger than holding the Trojans on fourth and one inside of the five-yard line.
The Trojans found themselves down by thirteen-points in the fourth quarter after the Sun Devils Zendejas kicked a 41-yard field goal that pushed their lead up to 27-14.
USC closed the gap when Slovis connected with his wide receiver Bru McCoy on a 26-yard touchdown pass making the score 27-21 with 2:52 left in the game. The Trojans' onside kick was successful as USC recovered the ball.
The Trojans tied the game 27-27 with 1:20 left in the game after Slovis threw a laser pass to Drake London for a 15-yard touchdown catch, and the extra point was good, giving them a 28-27 lead.
USC held on to beat Arizona State to give them their first win (1-0) in the Pac-12 Conference. Coach Helton shared with the media about his player being poise despite having everything that could go wrong in the game, never gave up fighting.
"I tried to stay positive. When it was 27-14 I was going up and down the sideline saying, 'Guys, I'm looking at it right now, you're going to win the game 28-27'. It's going to take two scores, we're going to have to treat it like a two-minute drive. go to our 2-minute drive rules. We're gonna get a touchdown, and onside kick, go score again. And they did it. I thought the whole sideline stayed positive, didn't panic, and stayed poised, and just really played situational mastery football the whole way through. From taking timeouts to using 2-minute rules to even Kedon (Slovis) throwing the ball away, checking the ball down, not taking negative plays down the stretch. I thought there was great execution. And then big 21 [Isaiah Pola-Mao] over here on the defense, I really thought, in the end, did a great job of finishing the game off for us."
Slovis had to throw the football 55 times to beat the Sun Devils, completing 40 of his passes for 361-yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and sacked three times. You could see the energy on the sideline during the whole game both the offense and defense were feeding off of it. The Trojans' quarterback Kedon Slovis talked about the energy coming from the sideline.
"I thought we did a good job throughout the entire game. But with no fans, you have to feed off each other for energy. Especially the last drive when the defense needs a stop, the whole sideline was making noise and on their feet, so obviously in an empty stadium it creates a different circumstance for you, but I thought our guys on the sideline did a good job."
London led the Trojans in receiving with eight catches for 125-yards one touchdown, and followed by Amon-Ra St.Brown 7 catches 100-yards. Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels led his team in rushing with 11 carries for 124-yards while completing 11 of his 23 passes for 134-yards and one touchdown.
Arizona State (0-1) will host the California Bears next Saturday, and USC will travel to play the Arizona Wildcats, and hopefully will do a better job with the turnovers. #usc #kedonslovis #sundevils #drakelondon #stephencarr #pac12football #ncaafootball #pac12conference #uscfootball #arizonastatefootball #tgsportstv1