9/4/21 LOS ANGELES, CA - The USC Trojans (0-0) hosted their first non-conference game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against the San Jose State Spartans (1-0), who beat Southern Utah last week 45-14.
USC beat San Jose State 30-7 with a dominant performance and big plays by their defense, and Kendon Slovis running the offense with a balanced attack with the passing game and running game.
"We just executed when it counted," Slovis said. "Converting in those big moments counts. I thought the defense played great, too. They really did bail us out at some points."
Slovis is one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12 Conference, who threw for 1921-yards and 17 touchdowns last season.
The Trojans got on the scoreboard first and led 3-0 in the first quarter after a 27-yard field goal from Parker Lewis.
The Trojans' defense came up with the first turnover of the game when Drake Jackson intercepted Nick Starkel's pass and returned it for 9-yards.
Moments later, Kedon Slovis threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to his wide receiver Tahj Washington to give the Trojans a 10-0 lead.
San Jose State defense got their first turnover after the Trojans tight-end Eric Krommenhoek caught a pass from Slovis had the football strip from him.
The Spartans had a chance to put some points on the board in the second quarter, but their field goal kicker Matt Mercurio missed a 28-yard field goal.
The Trojans led 13-0 after Lewis kicked a 23-yard field goal with 4:38 left in the first half. The first half ended with USC leading at halftime 13-0.
In the first half, Slovis completed 13-22 passes for 121-yards and one touchdown. Starkel completed 8 of 18 passes for 96-yards for the Spartans.
San Jose State trail USC 13-7 in the third quarter when Tyler Nevens score on a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Trojans increased their lead to 16-7 in the fourth quarter after Lewis kicked a 30-yard field goal with 13:03 left in the game.
USC got their second turnover of the game after Greg Johnson intercepted Starkel's pass and ran it back for a 37-yard touchdown that made the score 23-7. Johnson shared his thoughts about how the play unfolded and taking the ball back to the house for a touchdown.
"Coach called a great call and I was just dropping in my zone, and reading the quarterback's eyes. I noticed that they ran that play earlier in the game, so I just made the most of the opportunity and that's how I did it." "Honestly it felt like a dream. It was something that I've always dreamt of. Being from LA and playing in the Coliseum in front of all these amazing fans while getting to do that was just great."
The Trojans ended the game with a 30-7 victory after Slovis threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to his tight-end Erik Krommenhoek to get their first win of the season.
USC's offensive line did a marvelous job of protecting Slovis to give him time to look for open receivers and open running lanes for their tailbacks during the game. I asked coached Helton about the play of his offensive line and this is what he said.
"I'm looking forward to watching the film but the one thing that was neat to watch Graham (Harrell) do was to have faith in them in the run game, especially on some third-down situations. When we were getting some two-high coverage and they were actually clouding 15, I remember a third-and-7 and a third-and-10 where he hands it to Vavae and hands it to Keaontay and then they make the run. So you when you see that, you know your coordinator's really got faith in that line and faith in the runners, and I think that created more balance and created a more efficient offense on the day."
Slovis completed 24 of his 36 passes for 256-yards and two touchdowns. The leading rushers for the Trojans were Keaontay Ingram, 15 carries for eighty-six yards, and Vavae Malepeai, 14 carries and sixty-five yards.
Drake London led the Trojans in receptions with 12 catches for 137-yards. Nick Starkel for San Jose State completed 24 of his 46 passes for 308-yards and two interceptions.
The leading rusher for the Spartans was Tyler Nevens, with 15 carries for 58-yards and one touchdown. Isaiah Hamilton had six receptions for seventy-four yards to lead the Spartans in receptions.
The USC Trojans (1-0) next game will be at home in the Coliseum next Saturday against the Stanford Cardinal, and San Jose State (1-1) will travel to play the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. For more photos from this game, click on the link below. #pac12 #bigwest #usctrojansfootball #sanjosestatefootball #usc #kendonslovis #nickstarkel #vavaepeai #tajhwashington #tgsportstv1