Los Angeles, CA – USC held a 13-7 lead in the fourth quarter when senior defensive back Greg Johnson intercepted a Nick Starkel pass and raced 37 yards for the score. The pick-6 was Johnson’s third career interception and first returned for a touchdown.
It was the spark the Trojans needed. Drake London finished with a career-high 12 receptions for 137 yards and Kedon Slovis passed for 256 yards and two touchdowns to help USC defeat San Jose State 30-7 in the season opener on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“Coach called a great call and I was just dropping in my zone, and reading the quarterback’s eyes,” Johnson said. “I noticed that they ran that play earlier in the game, so I just made the most of the opportunity and that’s how I did it. Honestly it felt like a dream. It was something that I’ve always dreamt of. Being from LA and playing in the Coliseum in front of all these amazing fans while getting to do that was just great.”
USC got in the red zone on their opening drive but Slovis was sacked on third-and-goal. The Trojans first score of the season was a 27-yard field goal from Parker Lewis. On the ensuing drive, Drake London’s interception of a screen pass set up the Trojans first touchdown of the season.
Slovis saw the one on one matchup and heaved a pass to Tahj Washington who jumped over the defender to make the catch in the end zone. USC took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Lewis added a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter and the Trojans went into halftime with a 13-0 lead.
The Spartans got on the board in the third quarter on running back Tyler Nevens 2-yard touchdown run. USC pulled away in the fourth quarter. Lewis kicked his third field goal of the game and tight end Erik Krommenhoek hauled in a 20-yard touchdown with 2:07 left in the fourth quarter.
“A good opening ballgame for our kids, and credit to coach (Brent) Brennan in the job that he’s doing in San José State,” USC head coach Clay Helton said. “I think he’s really growing something; that was a good football team out there today and a team that I feel is going to compete in their league again for a championship. Offensively, I thought we started off in rhythm and then fell off a little bit. Credit to them, they made a couple adjustments and then we had a nice late flurry to end the game.”
USC opens conference play next Saturday when Stanford visits the Coliseum.