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Final Thoughts: No. 14 USC Handily Defeats Rice In 2022 Season Opener

Sep 4, 2022

The No. 14 USC Trojans decisively beat the Rice Owls Saturday in the team's 2022 season opener. Here are the final thoughts and takeaways from the Coliseum:

  1. USC takes care of business in its season opener

    • The Trojans have let opening contests get a little too close for comfort in previous seasons, but that was anything but the case against the Owls. USC scored on almost every possession and had just one punt that came in the fourth quarter. The last time USC scored 66 points or more in a home game was when it won 66-19 vs. UCLA on Dec. 3, 2005.

      "Great first win. Really, really proud of the team," head coach Lincoln Riley said following the game. "I thought we maintained our energy, our physicality throughout the entire game … Obviously a lot of growing to do as we get started in conference on the road next week."

  2. Spreading the love on offense

    • Quarterback Caleb Williams got many Trojans involved on Saturday as nine wide receivers and all four of USC's running backs got in on the action. Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison reeled in two touchdowns in his Trojan debut, while transfer running back Austin Jones scored twice on the ground. Williams completed 19 of 22 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns in three quarters at the helm.

  3. Pick-six City

    • Safety Calen Bullock and inside linebackers Shane Lee and Ralen Goforth each recorded a pick-six in the Coliseum Saturday. Their feat tied USC's single-game record and tied a Pac-12 record as well.

      "They've been playing ball around here for a long time. You don't break records very often," Riley said. "So that was a really cool thing for us defensively."

  4. Solo's Journey

    • Rush end Solomon Tuliaupupu made his collegiate debut Saturday for the first time in his five years as a Trojan. The rush end has battled injuries throughout his career but finally was able to play in the Coliseum and even recorded a sack.

      "I don't know if there was a player on our squad that our guys were more excited to see get their chance than Solo," Riley said. "You see what the guy puts into it and how much it means to him and you know a little bit of his history of obviously having so many tough injuries, so to be able to see him get out there and play was really, really cool."

  5. Lincoln Riley's first USC win

    • The head coach didn't want to extrapolate too much from the Trojans' blowout win against the Owls, but did note that it was a significant step in the right direction for the football program.

      "I think it's meaningful to us all, but those of us that have been on these journeys before, we understand this is just the beginning and there's so much left," Riley said. "So much better to play, so much better to coach. It's a great start. It's not anything more than that, not anything less than that."