After an outstanding first quarter, the USC Trojans continued their season opening groove with a more muted second quarter to enter halftime leading the Fresno State Bulldogs 31-7.
JuJu Smith captured the spotlight with 123 yards on four receptions in the first half.
Cody Kessler put up 309 yards and three touchdowns in an impressive half as well.
Smith ripped off a 43-yard catch and run to put himself over 100 yards in his first ever appearance in Cardinal and Gold. It wasn’t enough to find the endzone for the Trojans who settled for an Andre Heidari field goal.
Fresno State put in Duke transfer Brandon Connette, who seemed to inject life into the struggling Bulldog offense. A key endzone break up from Kevon Seymour delayed the inevitable until Marteze Waller ran for a short-yardage touchdown.
Kessler produced some magic by spinning away from a pass rusher and heaving a ball downfield to Agholor, who bobbled it but came up with the circus catch on the bounce. Justin Davis squandered the field position by fumbling the ball away on the next play however.
The Trojans missed another prime opportunity when Connette turned around and threw an interception to Gerald Bowman, who just stepped out of bounds preventing a pick-six.
Not to be outdone, Javorius Allen gave the ball right back, though Fresno State squandered the possession and had to punt.
Kessler and company calmed the game down with a drive capped by an Adoree’ Jackson touchdown over the middle. The quarterback was at his best, calmly shifting around the pocket to find unmarked receivers.
USC had the opportunity to extend the lead after a Leonard Williams interception, but Heidari missed a 39-yard attempt.
In the first quarter, USC asserted their dominance over the Bulldogs early and often. A near flawless quarter was highlighted by two Kessler-to-Agholor touchdowns and a swarming defensive performance.