ASU set the tone in the opening quarter by putting USC’s offense to the test. Taylor Kelly and the Sun Devil offense moved the ball into the Trojan red zone in 10 plays, thanks largely to the efforts of tight end Chris Coyle, who caught two big catches for 56 yards. Soon enough. Though the Trojan defense did stuff them temporarily outside the endzone, running back Michael Eubank muscled his way into the endzone, to give ASU the early lead.
It was the first time the Trojan defense surrendered a score in the first quarter so far this season.
When Cody Kessler took the field for his first true conference road game, he was greeted by Will Sutton, who brought him to the ground for a sack. A three-and-out later, the Trojans barely made a whimper in their opening drive.
Kessler and the Trojan offense came back onto the field at their own 11-yard line, and Tre Madden got things going with a huge 27-yard gain on the first play. With new life, the Trojans began to try and move the ball down the field. Later, Kessler hit Nelson Agholor on the sidelines for what appeared to be a first down, but the Pac-12 officials could not decide whether he had been forced out. Head Coach Lane Kiffin challenged the play, and the Trojans won the decision.
Madden and Justin Davis powered the Trojans into field goal range, with crucial conversions on third down to keep the drive alive. From 26-yards out, Davis took the hand off and dashed to the endzone, and with a big-time block fro wide receiver Marqise Lee, he reached the endzone to put USC on the board.
All tied up, the Sun Devils offense came back out to challenge the Wall of Troy, and were unsuccessful, thanks to USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast making adjustments to keep the defense competitive. ASU got nothing going and was forced to punt.
USC had the ball to close out the quarter, and Tailback U continued to come alive. After a first-down pass from Kessler to Lee for 20 yards, Madden took the hand off and darted across the field for a 25-yard gain as the clock wound down.
Threatening to score, Coach Kiffin and his Trojans have this road contest in Tempe off to a good start.