USC vs. ASU score, summary: Trojans bounce back with blowout

Norm Hall/Getty Images
Norm Hall/Getty Images /

The USC vs. ASU score on Saturday night in Tempe featured a bizarre late change and a huge margin of victory for the Trojans over the Sun Devils, 48-17.

The lowdown: A week after getting housed by Notre Dame in South Bend, USC came out firing in Tempe. A 32-yard touchdown pass to Deontay Burnett opened the scoring on the game’s opening drive and the Trojans’ wouldn’t look back.

In the passing game, Sam Darnold threw for three touchdowns and 266 passing yards and Tyler Vaughns had his best game of the year, with six catches for 126 yards, many of which coming after the catch.

But the story for USC offensively was Ronald Jones, who rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns. His 64-yard score in the third quarter sealed the deal and made the score 38-17 after a wild scene around halftime.

After the Trojans held ASU in check for the first 29-plus minutes, the Devils scored on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half, to take a 31-10 deficit to the break. The Kyle Williams catch was originally ruled short of the goal line, but was overturned by an official review after both teams had gone to the locker room.

The madness gave the Devils some life, as did their 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive to start the third quarter and rattle some USC nerves. However, Jones’ second long run put the game out reach and ended all hopes of an Arizona State comeback.

The takeaway: The Trojans looked good Saturday night. Arguably really good at times. Defensively, they were dominant for long stretches —ASU started out 0 for 7 on third downs— and a big offensive showing against what appeared to be a suddenly stout Devil defense proved they still got it after a rough loss to Notre Dame.

But for as good of a win as routing Arizona State is, especially for USC’s standing in the Pac-12 South, you can’t help up wonder about the previous eight games.

Why was the ASU game so reminiscent of the manhandling of Stanford? Why did it take this long for the Trojans to repeat that form?

Sure, injuries have played a role, but how can that be an excuse after USC sacked Manny Wilkins six times and completely nullified any sort of an Arizona State running game.

And then there’s the run game  They gashed ASU, and allowed Jones to look the best all year.

The unexpected blowout makes USC still a team no one can figure out. But the good is sure good. Now, who will show up next week against Khalil Tate and Arizona.

Player of the game: On a night when Sam Darnold looked like vintage Darnold, the star of the night was USC’s Ronald Jones. He rattled off a pair of long runs —67 and 64-yard touchdowns— and amassed 216 yards on 18 carries.

Stat of the game: Ronald Jones’s big night moved him into the Top 10 of USC’s all-time rushing list, passing both Sultan McCullough and Fred Crutcher.

Next on tap: The Trojans return to the Coliseum for the annual homecoming game next Saturday, where they’ll face the red-hot Arizona Wildcats, and their explosive quarterback, Khalil Tate.