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Austin Jones, Travis Dye Lead No. 7 USC Football To 45-17 Rout Over Fresno State

Sep 17, 2022

LOS ANGELES — No. 7 USC Football's prolific offense finished with 517 total yards as the Trojans defeated Fresno State, 45-17, at United Airlines Field at L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

USC (3-0, 1-0 Pac-12) has totaled 152 points in the first three game of the 2022 season. The last USC team to score more points through the first three games was the 2005 team which scored 178 points. That was also the last time USC scored 40 or more points in each of its first three games of a season. It is the first time USC scored 40 or more points in any three consecutive games since doing it the final 2 games of the 2016 season and the first two of the 2017 season.

"Great win against a good football team," said USC head coach Lincoln Riley. "Very physical game on both sides, very competitive plays on both sides. Certainly a different challenge than we've faced. We said that all week with our team that we're going to get tested and we're going to be faced with some situations in this game that we haven't been in yet as a team, and it was good to see us really respond."

Austin Jones ran for 110 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown, while Travis Dye rushed for 102 yards on 11 touches and a score. Sophomore quarterback Caleb Williams rushed for two touchdowns. The Trojans finished with 233 rushing yards — their highest total of the season.

"I thought the run game was pretty good most of the night," Riley said. "We were steady. I thought the line was really good in the run game. I thought the guys started seeing it pretty well."

Mario Williams led all USC receivers in yards with 77 yards on six catches. Jordan Addison had 69 yards on six receptions with a touchdown. Caleb Williams completed 25 of 37 passes with 284 passing yards and two throwing touchdowns..

Tight end Malcolm Epps recorded a defensive interception in USC's endzone at the end of the first half and caught a touchdown in Fresno State's endzone early in the fourth quarter.

The Trojans dominated the time of possession in the first half. USC opened the game with a 12-play, 83-yard drive that led to Caleb Williams connecting with Addison for a 2-yard touchdown to start the game. After a three-and-out from the Bulldogs (1-2, 0-0 Mountain West), the Trojans went on another 12-play drive that finished with Williams' 8-yard rushing touchdown.

Fresno State got on the board with a 23-yard field goal early in the second half. Williams then led the Trojans on a 15-play series and scored on a quarterback sneak.

The Bulldogs scored again on Erik Brook's 39-yard reception. USC punted on its final two drives of the first half, but Epps intercepted Jake Haener's hail-mary attempt on the Bulldog's last play before halftime. The Trojans went into intermission with a 21-20 edge.

Solomon Byrd gave USC a quick boost out of halftime by forcing Haener to fumble, leading to Jones' 3-yard touchdown run on the Trojans' ensuing drive.

Malik Sherrod answered with a 32-yard touchdown run, but USC regained control with Dye scoring on a 25-yard run while breaking five tackles.

The Trojans reinforced their lead with Epps' 10-yard catch from Williams. Denis Lynch scored the final points of the game with a 41-yard field goal.

USC stopped Fresno State at the goal line on the Bulldogs' final drive of the game, a moment that satisfied Riley.

"I'm really proud of the way we played in the second half," Riley said. "That was a very big point of emphasis throughout the week — especially coming off of the Stanford game — of putting together a more complete game, and I thought we did that very well."

Jordan Mims had 114 receiving yards on six catches for the Buldogs. Haener was 10-of-18 with 117 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with a leg injury during the fumble play.

The Trojans head back on the road next Saturday to face Pac-12 foe Oregon State (6:30 p.m. PT/Pac-12 Networks). USC then returns to the Coliseum for a two-game homestand against Arizona State and Washington State. Tickets to all USC home games start at $60.