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Five Takeaways From USC vs. Arkansas State

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The Trojans rolled to a 55-6 victory over the Arkansas State Red Wolves.

Harry How/Getty Images

The No. 8 USC Trojans opened the season with a bang, rolling to a 55-6 victory over visiting Arkansas State.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from USC's impressive home debut.

The Freshmen Came To Play

Despite returning several key players on both sides of the ball, the Trojans had 13(!!!) true freshmen play in Saturday night's game. Three freshmen, Ronald Jones II, Osa Masina (fumble recovery), and Aca'Cedric Ware, scored in their first ever game at LA Memorial Coliseum.

Jones had six carries for 86 yards, including a 46 yard touchdown run.

The Offensive Line Needs Work

Cody Kessler found himself sacked five times during the first half. Head coach Steve Sarkisian stuck to his word by rotating the line quite a bit, but if the Trojans want to compete in the ultra competitive PAC-12, the offensive line has to give Kessler time.

The Trojans had a much better second half, not allowing a single sack. The Trojans also rushed for 189 yards.

Trojan Backfield Has A Promising Future

Tre Madden was excellent in his return as a starter after several injuries hindered his production over the past two years. The redshirt senior had 12 carries for 106 yards, including a stellar 65-yard TD run.

Madden picked up right where he left off before succumbing to injury in 2013. In five games as the starter for the Trojans, Madden rushed for 583 yards and three touchdowns.

Tre Madden

*Photo courtesy of Neon Tommy's Paolo Uggetti*

Even more impressive were the debuts of freshmen Ronald Jones II and Aca'Cedric Ware. The two backs combined for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.

Cody Kessler Looked Great

Kessler finished the game 19-26 for 236 yards and four touchdowns. Another under-the-radar but sneaky good game for the senior. However, Kessler missed easy opportunities to pad his stats, often overthrowing his receivers down the field for what would have been a for sure touchdown.

Kessler did what he does best and managed the game well. He completed passes to 11 different Trojan receivers and managed to not turn the ball over. After being sacked 5 times, it would be nice to see Kessler get rid of the ball a little faster.

The Defense Was Phenomenal

After being challenged by Sarkisian to force more turnovers, the defense responded with four takeaways against the Red Wolves. Su'a Cravens and Chris Hawkins each intercepted Arkansas State QB Fredi Knighten. Osa Masina and Hawkins each recorded a fumble recovery, with the former retuning the ball for a touchdown.

The Trojans held the Red Wolves to just 119 yards in the first half, while getting constant pressure in the backfield. The Trojan defense looked great even with one of their key players, Adoree' Jackson, on the sidelines for most of the game due to a muscle strain.

Check out the highlights from the game below!

Beat the Vandals!