By Stu Peterson: Making his coaching debut with the USC Trojans, head coach Steve Sarkisian’s USC team smashed Fresno State (0-1) in a 52-13 victory on Saturday at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. No.15 USC led 31-7 at halftime and cruised to an easy 52-13 victory in the 2nd half.
USC quarterback Cody Kessler had a big game in passing for 394 yards on 25 of 37 passes with 4 touchdown throws.
USC rolled up 701 yards on total offense in the game with 37 first downs to 17 for the over-matched Fresno State. USC had a total of 105 plays on offense, which was a record for them and for the Pac 12. Fresno State put together 317 yards in total offense, but much of those yards came in the second half against the USC 2nd string defense.
Javorius Allen rushed for 133 yards on 22 carries with 1 touchdown for USC. He rushed for a 9-yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter. James Toland IV rushed for 47 yards on 12 carries.
Fresno State running back Marteze Waller rushed for 97 yards on 16 carries. Quarterback Brian Burrell rushed for 47 yards on 4 carries. What we can learn from that is USC is vulnerable on the ground, and they could have problems later on in the season when they meet up with teams that have a strong ground game such as UCLA and Cal.
USC wide receiver JuJu Smith caught 4 passes for 123 yards with a long of 53 yards.
Sarkisian used a quick up temp offense to keep Fresno State’s defense off balance, and unable to get rest breaks. This worked out perfectly for USC, because Kessler rarely missed a pass and Javorius Allen was nearly unstoppable.
Kessler had 2 touchdown passes in the 1st quarter alone in leading USC to a 21-0 lead. Kessler also rushed for a 2-yard touchdown to start the game. Kessler had touchdown passes of 10 yards to Nelson Agholor, 5 yards to Nelson, 18 yards to Adoree Jackson and 21 yards to Bryce Dixon.
Fresno State quarterback Brian Burrell completed 11 of 19 passes for 92 yards with 1 interception. Backup quarterback Brandon Connette complete 7 of 17 passes for 68 yards with 3 interceptions.