Los Angeles, CA – USC trailed by four points when they drove to the BYU 15-yard line with a minute left in the game. Jaxson Dart’s pass to Gary Bryant Jr. was a yard short on fourth and six with 38 seconds remaining.
The Trojans erased a 15-point deficit but came up short on its final drive in a 35-31 loss to No. 13 BYU on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“Ultimately we didn’t get the final outcome that we wanted,” said USC interim coach Donte Williams. “The kids fought extremely hard tonight. We battled back from mistakes that we made and made it a ballgame up to the last play of the ballgame. We fought hard all night and created turnovers, we ran the ball the way I would like for us to run the ball and controlled at the line of scrimmage.”
USC lost five of its last six games and has been eliminated from bowl contention. Dart finished 23 of 45 for 248 yards with one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown.
Bryant Jr. gave the Trojans good field position after he returned the opening kickoff 61yards to the BYU 35-yard line. USC can’t get into the end zone and settle for a 26-yard field goal.
BYU responded with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Jaren Hall to Puka Nacua for a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. The Cougars opened the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run by Tyler Allgeier to extend the lead 14-3.
USC came right back with a 6-yard run by Jaxson Dart on a fumbled snap to cut the lead 14-10. Allgeier scored his second touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run to give BYU a 21-10 lead. The Trojans added a field goal right before halftime to cut the lead 21-13.
The Cougars took a 28-13 lead in the third quarter when Hall hit Keanu Hill for a 41-yard touchdown. USC scored 18 unanswered points to take a 31-28 lead in the fourth quarter.
Vavae Malepeai scored on a 2-yard run and Parker Lewis added a 37-yard field goal. USC took the lead on Dart’s 10-yard pass to Bryant Jr. followed by a successful two-point conversion.
“I’m proud of the guys,” said Malepeai, who finished with 99 yards in his final home game. “This was a really emotional game, but I felt like we were able to stay level-headed throughout the calls. As an offense, we fed off of the defensive plays and that gave us momentum coming into a drive.”
Jackson McChesney scored on a 7-yard run to give BYU a 35-31 ldad with 3:57 left in the game. The Cougars finish the season 10-2 while the Trojans have one game remaining against Cal next Saturday.
“It was looking pretty bad, but once we regained our composure, I was confident we could come back and get the win,” BYU head coach Kelani Sitake said. “USC was bringing a lot of physicality to the game.”