USC defense gets five sacks in a 30-14 win over Washington State

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Los Angeles, CA – The USC defense held Washington State scoreless in the second half and defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu had three sacks in a 30-14 victory over the Cougars Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Travis Dye rushed for 149 yards and Caleb Williams threw two touchdowns to Mario Williams to help the Trojans remain unbeaten. USC is 6-0 to start the season since 2006.

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“Really, really tough, hard-fought win,” USC head coach Lincoln Riley said. “We talked to the guys all week about how circumstances don’t make or break you whether they are positive or negative.

The Trojans defense played well despite not having linebacker Shane Lee, who was out with an injury and losing starting safety Calen Bullock to a disqualification due to a targeting penalty.

“When you lose two of our best players, two of our leaders, you’ve got to have everybody step up,” Riley said. “We had a lot of guys step up. The defensive front had a dominant game.”

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The offense struggled at times but got key scores when they needed it. Williams finished 15 of 29 for 188 yards.

USC took a 7-0 lead on it’s opening drive when Williams connected with a wide-open Mario Williams for a 38-yard touchdown. The Trojans added a 31-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

Washington State opened the second quarter with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Cameron Ward to Robert Ferrel. After forcing the Trojans to punt, the Cougars drove down the field and scored on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Ward to Nakia Watson. Washington State took a 14-10 lead in the second quarter.

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USC marched down the field with an 11-play, 65-yard drive that was capped by a 4-yard touchdown run from Travis Dye to give the Trojans a 17-14 lead with 2:10 remaining in the second quarter.

“All credit goes to the O-line,” Dye said. “That defensive line is crazy good, and that defensive coordinator can really dial it up. The O-line was identifying everything and blocking it. It was wonderful tonight, all credit to them.”

Williams gave USC a 24-17 lead with a 24-yard pass to Mario Williams. Denis Lynch added two field goals in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

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USC will go on the road to play Utah on Saturday, Oct. 15.