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USC Trojans vs Arizona St. Sun Devils: Game Recap

USC comes up big in Tempe with Kessler leading the way.

Norm Hall/Getty Images

This one started off sloppy. The Trojans started the game on offense. First play from the line of scrimmage Kessler went deep to JuJu Smith-Schuster who hauled in a 52-yard reception on a bit of an underthrown ball. A couple of plays later, Cody Kessler threw his first interception of the season at the Arizona State 2. The very next play Arizona State broke off a 60 plus yard run. The Sun Devils ran a few more positive plays before the drive ended on a fumble recovered by the Trojans.

When the Trojans went back on offense the first play was a bad snap putting USC in the hole. The Trojans picked up a few yards on second down. Then on 3rd and thirteen Kessler hit Adoree' Jackson, who took it to the house for 80 yards giving the Trojans a 7-0 lead. A lot of early stats, but no actual sustained drives (though ASU did have a missed field goal). The first quarter came to a close still 7-0. The first period saw 4 Trojan penalties and a Taylor McNamara injury. On the plus side the Trojans were much improved on third down conversions in the first quarter.

The Trojans started the second quarter off with a huge third down conversion on a pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster that was called back because of pass interference. The Trojans failed to convert on 3rd and 22 while sloppy play and inconsistent performance continued to plague the Trojans throughout the night.

The Trojans FINALLY brought some pressure on Arizona State and forced a turnover early in the second quarter with an interception. USC then completely flipped the switch and after 3 games of abysmal third down conversions The Trojans seemed to only be able to convert on third downs. Kessler made a few great plays on this drive that lead to a touchdown extending the Trojans lead to 14-0

USC continued to work this Sun Devil defense with Kessler leading the Trojans down the field. After a good mixture of small runs and big time passes, Kessler hooked up with Smith-Schuster for a four yard touchdown making it 21-0 with 3:37 left in the second.

ASU started to move the ball quite well against the Trojans, and after a pass interference call they found themselves within scoring distance. As it looks like ASU is going to finally get on the board, Delvon Simmons forces a fumble on Richard and Chris Hawkins picks it up to return it 94 yards and make it 28-0 late in the second quarter.

Things get worse for ASU as they fumble the ball on kickoff return and USC recovers. Kessler takes the field and throws his fourth touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster to make it 35-0 with three seconds left in the first half.

USC's defense gets off the field in the second half with a Scott Felix sack to make it three and out. Adoree Jackson makes some nifty moves to get a big gain on punt return along with a facemask penalty on the Sun Devils. As the Trojans close in on another score, they fumble once again and gave it up to the Sun Devils.

USC once again comes out on defense ready to play, as USC forces its second third down stop on the first two drives in the third quarter. Credit Felix and Smith with sacks to get the defense off the field and give Kessler another opportunity to score.

USC comes out on their second drive in the third starting slow. However, due to ASU's poor tackling, Justin Davis is able to capitalize in the receiving game and help USC move down the field. The Trojan's offensive line continues to plague the unit with penalties bringing back a big Tre Madden run. USC cannot convert due to penalties and lack of execution on offense, punting the ball back to the Sun Devils.

The Sun Devils are starting to catch USC slipping, as Bercovici completes some key passes to march ASU downfield. The Trojans allow a lot of big gains over the middle looking quite similar to last week. After a 33 yard pass to D.J. Foster, Richard punches it in for a score to make it 35-7 with 1:55 left in the third quarter.

Kessler just continues to make an example out of the Sun Devil's defense on third down, finding Steven Mitchell across the field for a first down. USC continues to drive but cannot execute once again, punting the ball to end the third quarter.

USC defense just keeps plugging away third down stops, cutting Bercovici's chances to get ASU on the board again and forcing the Sun Devils to punt on the first drive in the fourth. USC gets the ball back and doesn't hesitate to move the ball. Catches by Smith-Schuster and runs by Ronald Jones II puts USC in position to take a kill shot against this wounded defense. Two plays after Jones big run, Kessler connects with Isaac Whitney for a Trojan touchdown to make it 42-7 with 10:41 left in the fourth.

USC is slacking on defense in the fourth, allowing ASU to move the ball at their own pace. Bercovici is making throws all over the field, taking what the Trojans give him. The Sun Devils score on a four yard Demario Richard dive, making the final 42-14. Trojans win.

USC comes up with a big win in Tempe, forcing four turnovers (28 points), three sacks, and a clinic in the air on an aggressive Sun Devil defense. USC improves to 3-1 on the season.