A week after losing to Stanford in the Pac-12 season opener, the big discrepancy in the USC vs. ASU score is probably not what many expected of the Trojans. But they got arguably their best win of the Steve Sarkisian era, beating Arizona State 42-14 on the road.
The lowdown: The Trojans got an elite effort from quarterback Cody Kessler and addressed the bulk of their basic concerns, bouncing back with a demolition job of Arizona State in Tempe. They got their share of help along the way, capitalizing on timely turnovers, including 14 points in the final 25 seconds of the first half following a pair of fumbles.
The takeaway: After struggling mightily on defense against Stanford, USC needed a powerful showing to bounce back and renew faith in Justin Wilcox. They got it, routinely making key stops on third down and applying pressure to force turnovers and bad passes from ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici. They gave up plenty of rushing yards along the way and still need to improve on the defensive line, but the dominant win over the Sun Devils could go a long way toward bringing the belief back from USC’s defense after losing one-on-one battles all last week against Stanford. The big win takes off plenty of pressure from the coaching staff and showed just how good this team can be if everything is clicking.
Player of the game: There’s several Trojans who had banner games on Saturday night, but the dynamic play of Adoree’ Jackson not only set the tone but showed just how lethal the Trojans’ offense can be. He scored on an 80-yard touchdown in the first quarter with pure speed, dazzled on a 45-yard bubble screen and then had a Reggie Bush-esque punt return in which he stopped on a dime to reverse field. It’s been said before, but he really is a human highlight reel.
Stat of the game: Adoree’ Jackson averaged 43.7 yards on 3 catches for 131 yards and 1 touchdown.
Next on tap: The Trojans get a much-needed bye week, followed by the third Thursday night game in three years at the Coliseum, as Sarkisian hosts his former team. The Washington Huskies are 2-2 on the season, having lost to both of their quality opponents, Boise State and Cal in one-possession games.