The USC defense then stopped Arizona State (0-1) on low near midfield with 50 seconds left to preserve a stunning comeback for coach Clay Helton’s perennially beleaguered side.“Well, that reminds you of 2020, doesn’t it? Helton said. “A year of adversity and finding a way to overcome difficult situations. I am proud of our football team. We did it. ”
Until their rally, the Trojans struggled in a match that began at 9 a.m. local time. USC accepted its first kickoff in at least 70 years for a national television audience, but it looked like another embarrassment for Helton and his Trojans before it abruptly turned into a thrilling triumph.
The USC racked up 556 yards on offense and edged the Sun Devils by 164 yards, but the Trojans were almost done as they made four turnovers and returned the ball three times on downs.
“A year ago we might not have won this game, but another year, one more year of experience – I didn’t see any panic,” Helton said. “I’ve seen some balance and fairness of kids who just said, ‘OK, we’re going to grab the next opportunity, grab the next opportunity, and make some big plays on it.
Slovis had 381 yards for USC, while Stephen Carr and Markese Stepp had points in the first period. London also caught eight passes for 125 yards, none greater than their winning reception from TD.
“This play was a play that we play all the time,” Slovis said. “There were three steps and a hitch ball, and Drake did the rest for me. ”
DeaMonte Trayanum, a rookie from Arizona State, rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns, while Rachaad White had a 55-yard touchdown on an equally strong start for the Sun Devils, who came extremely close to an impressive road victory for coach Herm Edwards and the new offensive coordinator. Zak Hill.
“What I’ve learned about college football is that they can score anytime,” Edwards said. “We had the opportunity defensively to come off the field a few times, and we didn’t. We gave their offensive life, and they were able to play. I just think we’re going to grow from that. , put it behind us and get ready to play next week. ”
Jayden Daniels passed for 134 yards and ran for 111 more, but the Sun Devils star quarterback threw four straight incompletions to end their last practice.
New Arizona State defensive co-coordinator Marvin Lewis was also on the verge of a good start before the Trojans stepped in.
“I don’t think we’re running out of gas,” Arizona state security Evan Fields said. “We just need to do a better job with mental toughness. That’s what it comes down to. Our goal, we cannot let it get tired. ”
The USC defense had a decent start under new coordinator Todd Orlando, but the Sun Devils showed a knack for big plays like White’s exceptional run to score on a regular screen pass in the second quarter.
USC trailed 17-14 at halftime despite beating the Sun Devils. The Trojans lost a fumble over the goal line by Vavae Malepeai and were then stopped on downs near midfield. Slovis then threw an interception with the Trojans within range just before the break.
Trayanum’s 17-yard second touchdown put the Sun Devils 24-14 ahead midway through the third quarter.
The Arizona State defense had its greatest moment soon after, stopping two unsuccessful open games by the Sun Devils’ 6 Trojans for a turnover on the declines.
Stepp then groped fourth at Arizona State 23 with 6:04 left, but the Trojans’ offense eventually came to a halt when McCoy made his first career touchdown when a contested pass deflected him straight into the end zone.
Arizona State: The first 57 minutes won’t do much to ease the pain of the last three. Edwards’ overhaul of his coaching staff always seemed to be paying off and the Sun Devils controlled the line of scrimmage until late.
USC: Helton will breathe a huge sigh of relief after his players finally reunite at the last possible moment, but the fact that the USC lines have both been in trouble will be an issue. The turnovers and Trojan errors were glaring, but they will only slow down the celebration slightly.
The Trojans won, but they haven’t done much to encourage confidence in their ability to fight for the Pac-12 title. They will likely stay ranked but need more convincing wins.
“I come back tonight saying, ‘Hey, we’ve just beaten a great football team and have the opportunity to really grow as a football team,’” Helton said. “I think it could be a great, great football team. I really do. ”
Arizona State: Home opener against California next Saturday, if the Golden Bears have no coronavirus issues.
USC: In Arizona next Saturday.
ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura and The Associated Press contributed to this report.