The USC Trojans took a narrow 17-15 lead into the half against the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Coliseum.
The second quarter was a stark departure from the first quarter which focused on defense. Instead, the second period saw ASU find success targeting Jaelin Smith in the passing game. The wide out snagged both of the Sun Devils’ touchdowns and eclipsed 100 yards on five receptions.
Cody Kessler threw for 163 yards on 16-of-28 passing while Mike Bercovici picked up his performance finishing the half with 189 yards and two touchdowns.
ASU started to find rhythm on offense to start the second quarter. After driving down the field, Bercovici hit Jaelen Strong for the first passing TD against the Trojan defense in 2014.
The Trojan receivers continued to struggle with dropped passes, as Rogers dropped another wide open ball this time on a long pass towards the endzone. Buck Allen got into a grove to gain some yards for USC but yet another drive fell short.
This time it was the Sun Devils who made them pay for their mistakes, when Bercovici hit Strong for a second touchdown on 77-yard pass. A two-point conversion extended the ASU lead.
USC responded with some Justin Davis runs but another drop left the men of Troy wanting before a running into the kicker penalty bailed the Trojans out.
Kessler found Allen unmarked on a wheel route to bring the Trojans to the goal line but two runs and an overthrown pass set up a fourth and short which Allen narrowly converted for the first offensive points for USC on the day. The score put the Trojans behind by just one.
The USC defense stiffened to stop ASU on the next drive with a chance to get the ball back before the half, but not before Strong beat the Trojan secondary on an overthrown by Bercovici.
With the ball on a two-minute drill, Kessler led his team down the field with a strong intermediate passing game before Justin Davis broke off a 16-yard run to put the Trojans in the red zone.
Andre Heidari grabbed the lead for USC with his 35-yard kick with 14 seconds left in the half.
The first quarter was a low-scoring affair with Nelson Agholor’s punt return the only thing to break the deadlock. Su’a Cravens was the star of the opening quarter as the Trojans held the Sun Devils to their first scoreless opening quarter of the year.
The USC vs. ASU second half kick off is on the way. Stay tuned to Reign Of Troy for a full slate of in-game and post-game content.