Los Angeles, CA – The USC Trojans didn’t look much better Saturday after suffering their first loss of the season last weekend, but it was more than for a 38-10 victory over Oregon State at the Memorial Coliseum.
“Good win for our football team, any Pac-12 win is,” said USC head coach Clay Helton.
USC scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the game but fell out of sync the remainder of the half. USC QB Sam Darnold continued his turnover woes with 2 more against the Beavers.
On The Trojans first possession, Darnold and USC came out hot picking up quick yards. The drive ultimately ended with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Darnold to WR Tyler Vaughns. The Trojan defense would make its first big pay of the day when DB Jack Jones came up with the first turnover of the day with an interception. USC cashed in on the giveaway and extended its lead 14-0 on a 4-yard scamper by Ronald Jones II.
“I really wanted to get out of the gate fast on the opening drive, as well as the next drive and after the turnover, which I had hoped happened,” said Helton.
That’s where it would turn south for the Trojans in the first half. USC had its first of 3 turnovers on the day in the first quarter after Ajene Harris was unable to haul in an Oregon State punt. On USC’s next possession Darnold would have his first giveaway. On the first play of the drive, Darnold had the ball slip out of his hand as he was winding up to throw, Oregon State recovered but were held to a field goal.
Darnold would sneak in one more turnover for his team before the end of the first half. Oregon State’s Manase Hanagulu intercepted a pass thrown by Darnold that had no USC player around.
“We’ll see what happened on the sack fumble, what a happened on the pass,” said Helton. “Those are things that you look up and you have 38 points, you took a knee, you have over 500 yards again and inside you know there is still more out there. That is a good thing.”
USC was able to the Beavers to just 3 points, blocking 1 of 3 attempts.
“Without looking at the game film, I felt our defense did an amazing job after being put in some situations and some field position with a muffed punt and a turnover offensively. To be able to hold that team to 3 points in the first half coming in I thought it was an amazing job,” added Helton.
The script wasn’t much different in the second half. USC added another score in its first possession of the half with Darnold’s third TD pass of the day.
Oregon State was finally able to break through the end zone to start the fourth quarter on a 6-yard run by Atravius Pierce.
Darnold finished the day 23 of 35 for 316 yards 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Darnold has thrown an interception in all of USC’s games this season. Jones was the leading rusher for the Trojans with 79 yards and 1 touchdown on 12 carries.