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Game Notes: Kessler Sets Record; Several Career Firsts

Notes and tidbits from Saturday's blowout win.

Cody Kessler continued USC QB success against Colorado.
Cody Kessler continued USC QB success against Colorado.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The USC Trojans needed just one quarter to match their offensive point output from last week as they jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the way to a dominant 56-28 win over Colorado at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Cody Kessler had a record day with Nelson Agholor being the primary beneficiary .

Here's some interesting game notes from the USC vs. Colorado matchup:

  • USC now leads the series against Colorado, 9-0, and has outscored the Buffaloes 333-104. The Trojans have scored 40+ points in the last five.
  • Cody Kessler finished 19-for-26 for a 73.1 completion percentage. That raised his season completion percentage to 69.5 percent, which is sixth best in the nation. UCLA's Brett Hundley has the country's best completion percentage at 72.5 percent, but Kessler has attempted more passes (233) than any of the quarterbacks with better percentages.

    Cody Kessler loads up for a TD throw. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

  • There have been some great quarterbacks in USC's history, but Cody Kessler now sits ahead of all of them in touchdowns in a single game. Kessler tossed seven touchdown passes in only three quarters of action. Besides setting the USC record, he also tied the Pac-12 record. He was the first to pass for seven touchdowns in regulation since 1981 when Mike Pagel did so for Arizona State.
  • Cody Kessler pretty much just continued the USC quarterback trend against Colorado. Since the Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 four years ago, USC has thrown 21 touchdowns to only one interception against the black and gold.
  • Cody Kessler is now tenth in the nation in passing efficiency with a mark of 162.1, but once again showing it is the conference of quarterbacks this season, the Pac-12 also sports three other top 10 signal callers. Leading the group is Oregon's Marcus Mariota and his 191.0 mark.
  • Once again, Cody Kessler did not throw an interception. With Oregon picking off a pass from Washington's Cyler Miles, the Ducks are now the only team in the nation that hasn't thrown an interception. USC is tied for second in the nation having only thrown one.
  • The Trojans lost another fumble when Justin Davis was stripped in the second quarter after a 21-yard run. However, USC's five turnovers this season are still tied for fourth-best in the nation. Of course, that's also only third-best in the Pac-12 behind Washington and Oregon.
  • USC is currently 11th in the nation in turnover margin averaging +1.00 turnovers per game.
  • Cody Kessler found Nelson Agholor six times for 128 yards and three scores. It was Agholor's first 100-yard receiving game since the Stanford win last season. 
    JuJu Smith and Nelson Agholor

    Nelson Agholor and JuJu Smith had plenty to celebrate. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Nelson Agholor also vaulted into the top 10 nationally in receiving touchdowns with seven on the year. He is second in the conference behind Colorado's Nelson Spruce, who had one on Saturday.
  • Freshman JuJu Smith also was in the 100-yard receiving club. It was Smith's second 100-yard game this season. Nelson Agholor and Smith became the first pair of USC 100-yard receivers since Agholor and Marqise Lee accomplished the feat in 2012.
  • JuJu Smith's 9-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was the first of his career. Redshirt freshman Steven Mitchell also recorded his first career touchdown catch when he made a diving 24-yard grab in the end zone. (It was also Cody Kessler's record seventh touchdown pass.)
    JuJu Smith touchdown

    JuJu Smith dives for the end zone. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

  • When freshman tight end Bryce Dixon catches the ball, it's almost assuredly a big play for USC. Dixon has six catches for 115 yards on the season with three going for touchdowns and the other three going for first downs:
    Bryce Dixon 2014 Receptions
    Opponent Yards Result
    Fresno State 1st & 10 22 Touchdown
    Boston College 2nd & 12 25 First Down
    Oregon State 3rd & 9 31 First Down
    Oregon State 2nd & 10 13 First Down
    Colorado 1st & 10 15 Touchdown
    Colorado 2nd & Goal 9 Touchdown
  • Redshirt junior defensive end Greg Townsend Jr. collected his first career sack. He finished with two tackles for loss.
  • Kevon Seymour grabbed his first interception of the year when Gerald Bowman blew up a receiver and the ball popped into the air right to Seymour:
  • USC finished with 200+ yards rushing for the fifth time this season. Buck Allen finished with 128 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries while Justin Davis fell just three yards short of the Trojans having a pair of 100-yard rushers for the game.
  • Buck Allen has now rushed for more than 100 yards in six of the seven games this season and had more than 100 yards receiving in the sixth. He is one of four players in the country with 100+ yards from scrimmage in every game this season.
  • Buck Allen leads the Pac-12 with 909 yards rushing -- 11th-best in the nation. He also leads the conference in all-purpose yards with 1,199 (No. 5 in the country) and is second in rushing touchdowns with eight (17th in the nation).
    Buck Allen

    Buck Allen wasn't needed much, but still got his stats. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

  • The Trojans jumped out to a whopping 28-0 lead in the first quarter. USC is now outscoring opponents 87-13 in the first 15 minutes.
  • USC ran only 61 plays -- its second fewest this season. But who needs to run a lot of plays when you are scoring 56 points.
  • For the first time this season, the Trojans didn't have more penalties than their opponent. Instead, both teams were whistled for seven infractions.
  • After managing just three pass breakups against Arizona, the USC defense had seven on Saturday led by two each from Hayes Pullard and Chris Hawkins.
  • Redshirt junior linebacker Anthony Sarao led the team with 12 tackles -- tying the career high he set against Stanford last year. Sarao got a little bit of a break after playing every single defensive play last week at Arizona, but he still played 84 against Colorado. Add in special teams the last two weeks and Sarao has been the marathon man, playing more than 200 snaps the last two weeks.
    Anthony Sarao

    Anthony Sarao tied his career-high with 12 tackles. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

  • The USC defense also held Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau to a career-low 130 yards passing. Liutau entered averaging .
  • Senior kicker Andre Heidari missed his second straight game, but redshirt sophomore Alex Wood was a perfect replacement once again. Wood went 8-for-8 on extra points to increase his career total to a perfect 20-for-20. He also had four touchbacks on nine kickoffs. Of the five kickoffs returned, only one was returned past the 25-yard line and that was just to the 29-yard line.
  • Alex Wood also recorded his first tackle, but he wasn't the only one. Long snapper Zach Smith also recorded his first tackle.
  • Junior walk-on receiver George Katrib, who contributes heavily on special teams, recorded a career-high four tackles.
  • Redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins also had a career-high, tallying nine tackles.
  • Freshman safety John Plattenburg earned his first career start and increased his career tackle total by 400 percent, adding a career-high eight tackles to his first two that he recorded last week.
  • Redshirt junior defensive lineman Delvon Simmons, a transfer from Texas Tech, set not only his USC tackle high, but also a career high with seven stops.
  • Thanks to the blowout, USC played 60 players. It's always good to see veteran players like Giovanni Di Poalo and Charles Burks get some run.
  • Former USC great Lynn Swann led the Trojans out of the tunnel. There were a number of former USC players in the Coliseum with it being Homecoming weekend. Most notably, former tight end Dominique Byrd and running back LenDale White were on the sidelines with team. White, of course, was later escorted out of the stadium after the game.
    Lynn Swann

    Lynn Swann is ready to lead the Trojans out. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports).