The USC Trojans led by a measly five points at the half in their season opener, but turned it around with pretty JT Daniels’ deep balls and an improved run game to pull out their first win of the season.
USC fans know by now that the Trojans have been a second half team as of late, and today was no exception.
After a sloppy first half filled with drops, overthrown passes, and penalties, Clay Helton must have given a rallying halftime speech as USC regained form to win the game 43-21.
Freshman quarterback JT Daniels looked impressive all game, poised in a frustrating first half, and on fire in the second. Daniels threw three very pretty deep balls to receivers, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Trevon Sidney, and Michael Pittman Jr., to kickstart the Trojans after halftime. Daniels ended the game with a passer rating of 140.0.
@jtdaniels06 is feelin' it! He completes to @MikePitt_Jr 36 yards downfield!— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) September 1, 2018
Watch on @Pac12Network.#FightOn | #BeatTheRebels pic.twitter.com/jOdPALMwAP
USC 26, UNLV 14@jtdaniels06 and @amonra_stbrown link up for the first TD of both their careers!— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) September 1, 2018
Watch on @Pac12Network.#FightOn | #BeatTheRebels pic.twitter.com/1L3AS57sgG
Brett Neilon who nabbed his first career start at center was perfect, no botched snaps which made play for Daniels all the more manageable. Senior Aca’Cedric Ware finally got his chance and showed Trojans fans he can be a reliable back with 100 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore Vavae Malepeai had a solid day as well with a pair of touchdowns, one of which was USC’s first meeting with the end zone after a quarter of field goals.
The talk of fall camp Amon-Ra St. Brown, showed why he is USC’s next big star with 98 yards, a touchdown, and a mystical bond with his former Mater Dei teammate Daniels. Fellow wide receiver Sidney got in the most playing time of his career and will likely get more after his showing today.
Sidney ended the game with three receptions for 72 yards and reliable hands for a freshman quarterback to sling the ball into.
While the Trojan defense gave up a few big plays, including a faked punt that went for 36 yards, it showed how dominant they can and will be if discipline is maintained. Senior captain Porter Gustin opened the game with a fumble recovery on UNVL’s first drive, and had two sacks on dual threat quarterback Armani Rogers.
All in all the Trojans showed the talent they have on both sides of the ball, yet unnecessary mistakes held them back from blowing this game out early.
JT Daniels: 22/35, 282 yards, 62.9 CMP%, TD
Aca’Cedric Ware: 100 yards, TD
Amon-Ra St. Brown: Seven receptions for 98 yards, TD
Vavae Malepeai: 47 yards, two TD’s
Trevon Sidney: Three receptions for 72 yards
Porter Gustin: Two sacks, one fumble recovery