Los Angeles, CA – Being starting quarterback at USC carries a lot of weight, full of expectations, with a spotlight on your play. True freshman Kedon Slovis wasn’t fazed by the big stage, playing fast, poised and aggressive in the conference opener.
Slovis set a school record for passing yards in a freshman’s debut, finishing 28-of-33 for 377 yards and three touchdowns. The Arizona native helped the Trojans erase an early 14-point deficit to come back and defeat Stanford, 45-20, Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“I thought it was pretty good,” Slovis said on his performance. “But at the same time, how good is it with these guys? It doesn’t show how well I did but how good a team we have.”
USC trailed 17-3 in the second quarter when Slovis threw his first career touchdown, a 39-yard reception to Amon-Ra St. Brown in double coverage. Stephen Carr added a 25-yard touchdown run and Slovis connected with St. Brown on another score for a 24-20 lead with 31 seconds left before halftime.”
“We knew his talent and we understood the type of players our quarterbacks are,” USC head coach Clay Helton said. “Graham (Harrell) is kind of loose and lets the kids have fun and play fast and play aggressive. Even though he’s young, we named him the No. 2 for a reason. Let’s go cut him loose. That’s not hard for Graham because he’s always ready to cut it loose. It was fun for me to watch.”
Stanford scored on its first four drives of the game but did not score again the rest of the game as USC outscored them 42-3. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half and held Stanford to 98 total rushing yards.
“Defensively, we were bend-but-don’t-break,” Helton said. “I though third downs were the key. I think they were 0-for in third downs in the first half and did a nice job in the second half to allow us to separate from a good Stanford team.”
Slovis led four touchdown drives and completed 84.3 percent of his passes while throwing completions to eight different receivers. During the second and third quarters he completed 12 consecutive passes.
“We all knew Kedon was a great quarterback and then saw him in the spring and he looked great,” St. Brown said. “He wasn’t a highly touted recruit coming out of high school so we didn’t know much about him. But after the first day we saw he could sling the ball.”
USC running back Vavae Malepeai scored two touchdowns in the second half and Tyler Vaughns added a 16-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Vaughns finished with five receptions for 106 yards while St. Brown added eight receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
The Trojans hit the road for the first time this season as they travel to Utah next Saturday for matchup against BYU.