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USC survives Pac-12 After Dark to defeat Washington State 39-36

USC got back into the win column against Washington State, however the questions are far from answered.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 After Dark took place at the Los Angeles Coliseum. USC managed to get back into the win column, but it was far from convincing.

The Trojans started off the game going to the ground game with running backs Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai to get into the end zone. A physical drive that many haven’t seen from USC so far this season. You’d think things would appear to be turning around, right? In spirts the USC offense went three in out and got away from the run game, something that worked for the Trojans to begin the drive. The USC defense, who’ve been stellar at until the Texas game, had a lot of issues with Washington State’s offense. Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew faced very little pressure from the USC defense as he was able to pick apart the Trojans secondary for early touchdowns. Part of the reason could be the fact that the Trojans were without senior linebacker Porter Gustin for the first half.

Washington State led 24-14 late in the 2nd half, USC managed to cut the lead to a touchdown thanks to JT Daniels leading a USC drive which led to a field goal. The second half saw a back and fourth affair between Washington State and USC. The Trojans took their first lead when Daniels connected with freshman wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 30 yard touchdown pass. 4 minutes later they would lose lead again. USC would take the lead for good when Vavae Malepeai rushed for a two yard score. They would then go for two to extend the lead to three.

With a 1:49 left in the game the Cougars attempted a game tying field goal. USC special teams finally come through as Jay Tufele blocked the game tying field goal to secure the victory.

The win brings USC to 2-2 overall with a 1-1 record in the Pac-12. It also extends the home winning streak to 17 games. While it wasn’t pretty, the Trojans managed to get the job done when it mattered the most. Daniels had a solid game going 17-26 for 241 yards and 3 touchdown passes. A better stat line than the last two weeks.

Next week USC hits the road once again to face the Arizona Wildcats where they’ll see Kahlil Tate and new head coach Kevin Sumlin.