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6-Points: USC 38, WSU 13

Dec 6, 2020

Highlights | Photos | AP Recap

First Round Knockout

The Trojans took the drama out of this game early, jumping out to a 28-0 lead after one quarter and ultimately opening with 35 straight points before Washington State could muster any kind of answer. The resounding victory puts USC one win away from hosting the Pac-12 Championship Game at the Coliseum on Friday, December 18. "We've got a short week coming up against a really good team that's hot right now in crosstown rival UCLA," said head coach Clay Helton. "We've got a lot to play for and that's what you want in December."

Oh My St. Brown

Amon-Ra St. Brown came into the game as the third leading receiver in the Pac-12, but he had not scored a touchdown yet. "There's a reason that C is on Amon-Ra St. Brown's chest, because he's an unselfish player," Helton said. "He's just played the same unselfish, physical, tough game each and every week, and you look up and he has four touchdowns on the day." The four receiving scores tied the USC and Pac-12 record, and he tied an NCAA record by doing it all in one quarter. "In college, to score four touchdowns, it's very uncommon," St. Brown said. "I'm just glad my teammates and my coaches trusted in me."

Takeaway Time

As good as the offense was, the defense continues to be the story this season. Against a Washington State offense, which ranked third in the Pac-12 coming in, USC forced three more turnovers by confusing WSU QB Jayden de Laura with six defensive backs on the field at once. "We really felt like we needed to put the maximum number of athletes that we could on the field," Helton explained. "For a young quarterback, especially in the first half, it was hard to get a hold off and really figure out." The Trojans have now forced 12 turnovers this season, including three interceptions by Talanoa Hufanga.

No Worries

There's been much speculation about the health and play of sophomore QB Kedon Slovis, but he silenced the doubters tonight, throwing for 287 yards on 25/32 and 5 TDs without an INT. "Across the board, everyone was doing their job and playing excited," said Slovis. "It's a testament to how well everyone else played around me." The USC passing game took advantage of Washington State's aggressive defense which dared to man up the Trojans wide outs. "They came out early playing man, and we love man as receivers. We love one-on-ones," St. Brown said. "Kedon threw great balls, and we made plays." Slovis said his left arm is fine after missing a couple plays because he dinged his funny bone.

Nicky Figs

The USC pass rush racked up four more sacks, including three by Nick Figueroa. The former JC transfer played a minimal role last season, but he's been one of the surprise stories of this campaign. He was the first Trojan to have three sacks in a game since Uchenna Nwosu and Rasheem Green both did it against Arizona State in 2017. After his big night, he now leads the team in sacks and tackles-for-loss. The Cougars came into the night averaging 438.5 yards per game, but the Trojans held them to 263.

Pobody's Nerfect

After scoring 35 points in the first half, including touchdowns on all five drives, USC managed only three points in the second half. "We didn't play our best ball in the second half, so there's always some stuff we can correct offensively," Helton said. "I wish we could have run it a little better in the second half." The run game struggled all night as USC managed a total of five yards on the ground.