The USC Trojans got off to a very balanced start against the Utah State Aggies, leading 7-0 after the first quarter.
Lane Kiffin kept with the theme of diverse play calling in the opening quarter of USC’s contest with Utah State. Though he catered heavily to the running game so as to get that established early, he also employed the Wildcat offense on a third down attempt, which saw wide reciever Marqise Lee run the ball on a fly sweep to pick up a new set of downs.
The Trojans came up empty on their first drive, and a well-placed punt pinned Chuckie Keeton and his Aggies right under the shadow of their own goalposts. As they have through three weeks, the Trojan defense punished the Aggies right out of the gate. They forced a three-and-out when true freshman defense Su’a Cravens displayed great instincts by reading Utah State’s play and laying a huge hit on an Aggies wide receiver to prevent to conversion of downs.
In great field position, USC took over on downs and picked up where it left off. Cody Kessler dropped back and hit Nelson Agholor for a 19-yard gain, looking poised and confident. Tre Madden ground out a couple of carries for another first down following that, getting the Trojans closer to the endzone.
A couple of ill-timed penalties by the Aggies brought it to first-and-goal for the Trojans, and then another one got them even closer. Kessler pitched it to Madden on 2nd and goal, and the running back powered his way into the endzone for the one-yard score.
With the ball back in Chukie Keeton’s hands, the Aggies picked up a first down on their first play of the drive off a screen play that surely made Trojan fans envious. Later on third down, USC cornerback Torin Harris got lost in coverage and gave up a 42-yard first down conversion.
Threatening to score, Utah State crept towards the Trojans’ endzone, but a combination of a strong defensive stand and penalties against the Aggies kept them out of the endzone. Leonard Williams came up with a big play when he prevented Keeton from scrambling for yards, and ultimately the Aggies were forced to kick. Fortunately for the Trojans, the kick bounced off the uprights and was no good.