USC vs. ASU helped clarify control in the Pac-12 South and revealed the promise of the Trojans’ young receiving corps. Here are the big takeaways from the game.
USC went into Tempe expecting to be tested by the surging ASU Sun Devil. They left having passed the test with flying colors, notching a 48-17 victory.
The Trojans got major contributions from expected places as Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones II lit up the scoreboard, but the major development from Saturday surrounded young players making a name for themselves and veteran defenders returning.
Here’s a look at the big takeaways from Tempe:
Tyler Vaughns is a star
Perhaps no other Trojan had a rougher first few weeks to start the season than redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyler Vaughns.
Beginning fall camp with the first team, Vaughns was eventually overtaken as a projected starter in favor of redshirt senior Steven Mitchell and redshirt junior Jalen Greene, through no fault of his own, however, as the coaching staff just felt more comfortable playing older veterans than rising stars. Vaughns continued to make the most of the opportunities he got, eventually claiming a starting position and has not looked back.
While he had been very efficient going into the Arizona State game, with 352 yards and one touchdown, his breakout game was still to come.
All of that changed in the hot desert of Tempe. Vaughns was unstoppable on Saturday night, turning what should have been short gains into touchdowns, posting 126 yards and two scores.
In addition to his first touchdown, when he broke one tackle then off to the races, Vaughns also showed his physicality in the red zone, catching a touchdown against several defenders and coming down with the ball despite being hit by a safety who was later ejected for targeting.
In many ways, Vaughns is like Deontay Burnett; He is not the biggest guy at 6-foot-2 185 pounds, nor is he the fastest or the most physical. But he has shown tremendous ability to get open, has a large catch radius and has developed an amazing chemistry with Sam Darnold.
It is not a lock that Deontay Burnett or Sam Darnold will come back, but whoever is quarterback next year will have a star in Vaughns.