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6-Points: ASU 62, USC 41

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The Trojans fall to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the Pac-12 after losing a shootout in Tempe.

Click here for the recap.

Click here for the final stats.

Gashed

tre_2.jpgThe USC defense had given up just four touchdowns on the season coming into tonight's game, but the Sun Devils' offense found the end zone seven times, which included 28 unanswered points to break the game open in the third quarter.  For whatever reason, Clancy Pendergast's unit just did not look like the same defense from the first four games.  "Yeah, it sure didn't," Lane Kiffin agreed.  "We didn't play very well, and they made every play you could have imagined.  That's why you have to come to play every week.  We did it four times, but this time, obviously we didn't."  Defensive captain Hayes Pullard explained that "miscommunication" was a problem, especially on the blown coverages leaving receivers wide open down the middle of the field.  "That was just a great offense," Pullard said. "They had us on our toes.  We have to just learn from this situation and just grow from this."

Lee Update

To make matters worse, All-American WR Marqise Lee was carted off the field with a left knee injury, Kiffin confirmed.  The Biletnikoff Award winner, who set a new school record for career receiving yardage in the game, was on crutches leaving the stadium, and will be further evaluated upon returning to Los Angeles.  "It was very painful being my best friend since forever," Pullard said about seeing Lee injured.  "I just wanted to make sure I was by him and by his side, while he was going through that."  Senior WR De'Von Flournoy was knocked out of the game as well leaving USC with only two healthy scholarship wideouts.

Madden and Davis

The running back tandem of Tre Madden (20 carries for 128 yards) and Justin Davis (10 carries for 122 yards) was an obvious bright spot for a USC offense that came to life tonight.  The duo combined for 250 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns.  While Madden set the physical tone, Davis was electrifying.  "We have been really excited about him, and were trying to get him the ball more," said Kiffin about Davis.  "We got him 10 carries today, and he was pretty explosive at 12 yards per carry.  And then Tre had another 66 yards through the air.  It was a really good night by those two."

Kessler

Cody Kessler completed 20 of 29 passes for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He did throw 2 interceptions, including a pick-six, but the first INT was a perfect pass to Lee, which deflected off the receiver's hands.  "I thought he played really well.  He did some really good things," said Kiffin about Kessler.  The passing game was more diverse tonight with seven different Trojans recording at least one reception.

Costly Mistakes

Neither defense was able to consistently get stops, so the difference in the game came down to turnover margin.  The Trojans provided two second quarter gifts to set-up the 20-14 halftime margin, and then added two more interceptions in a disastrous third quarter.  "We turned the ball over four times and only got it once on the road," Kiffin summed up the stat of the night.  Kiffin went on to describe the second quarter drop by Lee, which turned into an INT, as the swing play of the game. 

Going Forward

With the Trojans already in an 0-2 hole in the Pac-12, the character of this team will be tested.  Hayes Pullard expects this unit to be up to the challenge.  "This is a way tighter group since January after last season.  We are nowhere near the team that we were last year.  We are a band of brothers," he said.  USC heads into a bye week needing the time to get healthy.  "We definitely need this bye week to regroup and focus on what we have ahead," said senior Kevin Graf.

(Photo by John McGillen)



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