No. 20 Southern California rallies past Arizona State
Bru McCoy caught a desperation, fourth-down heave for a touchdown, and followed it up by recovering an onside kick, and No. 20 Southern California rallied from down 13 points in the final 2:52 to defeat Arizona State 28-27 on Saturday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Sloppy play shaped the season opener for both teams, but particularly so for the host Trojans (1-0, 1-0 Pac-12 Conference). USC committed four turnovers, three of which were coughed up in scoring territory.
But after going scoreless for more than 33 minutes of game time and falling behind 27-14, quarterback Kedon Slovis struck for a pair of fourth-down touchdown passes.
Twenty-six of Slovis’ 381 passing yards came on the first of those scores, a desperate toss into the end zone on fourth-and-13. The pass was tipped up, but McCoy was there to snag the carom for USC’s first points since the middle of the second quarter.
McCoy then came up with the ensuing onside kick, and Vavae Malepeai ran for 33 of his 60 yards to power the drive. Slovis capped the drive on a fourth-and-9 play — pushed back on five of USC’s 59 penalty yards — when he fired a strike through a tight window to a streaking Drake London for the 21-yard score with 1:20 to play.
Malepeai’s contributions to the game-winning drive made up for one of the critical turnovers that dug USC into a hole. The Trojans recovered a muff punt after their first possession, but Malepeai fumbled short of the goal line.
It was the first of two fumbles Arizona State defensive back Evan Fields forced, and one of two USC possessions to end inside the 10-yard line without producing points.
The Sun Devils (0-1, 0-1) also forced a turnover-on-downs in the second half with a pair of stuffed runs, and linebacker Merlin Robertson intercepted a Slovis pass at the 10-yard line just before halftime.
The last of USC’s four turnovers came on Fields’ second forced fumble. He jarred the ball loose from Markese Stepp with 11:23 remaining, putting the Sun Devils in position to run down the clock.
Their ensuing possession lasted just 1:36 and four plays, however, and they did not get possession back until they were trailing. Arizona State’s last-ditch effort fell short when quarterback Jayden Daniels threw four straight incompletions.
Daniels went 11-of-23 passing for 134 yards, playing without top target Frank Darby. He threw a 55-yard touchdown to Rachaad White. Freshman running back DeaMonte Trayanum rushed for two touchdowns and 84 yards on 12 carries, complementing Daniels’ 111 yards on 11 rushes.
London caught eight passes for 125 yards to lead all players. Teammate Amon-Ra St. Brown added 100 yards on seven catches, and McCoy finished with 51 yards on five receptions.
–Field Level Media