Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.
The No. 6-ranked Trojans followed up their season opening rout with a 59-9 blowout over the visiting Idaho Vandals at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.Led by an explosive offense that had big plays in both the passing and running game, the Trojans racked up over 700 yards of total offense. Redshirt senior Cody Kessler set a career high, throwing for 410 yards to go along with three touchdown passes. True sophomore JuJu Smith-Schuster set career highs in both yards and receptions, catching 10 passes for 192 yards and two long touchdowns.“We came out with a good fire and jumped on them, which is what we should have done,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said.The USC defense put together another solid performance, holding their second straight opponent to under 10 points. While the team didn’t force any turnovers, they forced Idaho into multiple three-and-outs.The defense turned in a true team effort, with no one player standing out above the rest.Freshman linebacker Cameron Smith led the team with six tackles, and junior linebacker Su’a Cravens contributed a sack. The team maintained solid coverage throughout the night, and made adjustments to thwart the middle screen that was giving them issues in the first half.Offense was the real story of the evening, with the Trojans taking the opening kick and marching down the field 75 yards in just over two minutes, with junior running back Justin Davis punching the ball in for the first score.That drive set the tone for the rest of the game, with the Trojans scoring seemingly at will against a beleaguered Idaho Vandal defense.As a group, the Trojan tailbacks gave the Vandal defense headaches, repeatedly bursting for long runs that broke into the second level.Both Davis and redshirt senior Tre Madden scored two touchdowns and supplied the Trojans with a bevy of long runs.The USC running attack compiled 285 total yards, with seven backs running for more than 10 yards.No single back rushed the ball more than eight times, demonstrating a wealth of talent at back.Specifically, Madden and Davis had help from some younger players. Freshmen Ronald Jones II, Dominic Davis, and Aca’Cedric Ware all got into the game, putting up impressive yards per carry totals.Jones had a 40-yard plus run for his second straight game, flashing glimpses of his big play potential. He led the team with eight rushes for 84 yards and was the topic of a lot of post-game conversation.“He’s a unique guy,” Sarkisian said of Jones after the game.The game featured a lot of young and new talent, as multiple newcomers continued to shine for the Trojans. The Trojans linebacking corps was buoyed by young talent, with Smith and fellow freshmen Porter Gustin and Osa Masina making an impact.In the passing game, Kessler seemed to pick up right where he left off against Arkansas State, turning in another statistically impressive performance.Kessler went 26 for 31 with 410 yards and three touchdowns, statistics that are sure to get him mentioned in any early season Heisman conversation.His performance was highlighted by two deep ball touchdown throws to Smith-Schuster, who caught passes of 50 and 41 yards for scores.“Cody told me, ‘Every time you go deep, I’m gonna put the ball near you. You got to go get it’,” Smith-Schuster said.Kessler was able to distribute the ball effectively as 14 Trojans made receptions. One of those receptions was Adoree’ Jackson’s catch and run out of the backfield, which may have been the highlight of the evening.Jackson caught the ball in motion and started running right before reversing field. After picking up a block from Kessler, Jackson cut back to the middle of the field and made a few more guys miss before being brought down for a 30-yard gain.The play had the entire audience on its feet and harkened back to the days when former standout Reggie Bush was on the gridiron.The Trojans are now done with the Sun Belt portion of their non-conference schedule, after winning the two games by a combined score of 114-15.These early season blowout wins were highlighted by explosive plays on both sides of the ball and standout performances from a bevy of players.After a couple of days off, the Trojans will then get back to work on the practice field as they prepare to host their first Pac-12 opponent, Stanford.The increase in schedule rigor starts immediately as the Trojans dive right into Pac-12 play, facing two opponents who were both ranked to start the season.