USC football fires on all cylinders, beats Nevada 66-14

Both the offense and defense had dominant performances in the Trojans’ second game of the year.

  • Ethan Thai / Daily Trojan

Junior quarterback Caleb Williams threw five touchdowns to four different receivers, and USC football pounced on the Nevada Wolf Pack early to win their second game of the season at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 66-14 Saturday afternoon.

After allowing Nevada to score on its first drive, USC outscored the Wolf Pack 59-7 and hung 668 yards on the Wolf Pack’s defense. USC had five scoring drives in the first half; every single one was four plays or less and no longer than two minutes and 20 seconds.

Williams continued his Heisman defense as he lit up Nevada, completing 18 of his 24 passes for 319 yards and five touchdowns, adding 42 yards on the ground. He had three touchdown passes of 22 or more yards.

One of the day’s many highlights for Williams came with a little more than six minutes remaining in the first half. Williams evaded multiple defenders in the pocket and juked out another before hitting senior wide receiver Brenden Rice for the 13-yard score. 

Redshirt junior running back MarShawn Lloyd gave the Trojans the lead for good midway through the first quarter. Lloyd had a quick burst to the outside for his 24-yard rushing touchdown, giving USC a 14-7 lead at the time.

Lloyd made headway in the running back battle with redshirt senior Austin Jones. Adding on to that touchdown, Lloyd rushed for 76 yards on just seven carries and added two catches for 59 yards. 

The much-scrutinized USC defense had a much better performance. After allowing a 73-yard pass that would lead to a touchdown on the first drive, the defense held strong, allowing just 96 yards the rest of the half. It’s tied for the least amount of points they’ve allowed in its last 25 games.

The Trojan defense did all this with a very thin linebacker core throughout much of the game. Senior inside linebacker and captain Mason Cobb and junior inside linebacker Eric Gentry did not dress for the game. Then, about five minutes into the second quarter, freshman inside linebacker Tackett Curtis got disqualified from the game after being called for targeting.

The defense got in on the scoring frenzy about three minutes into the fourth quarter. After freshman rush end Braylan Shelby got a strip sack of Nevada’s quarterback, redshirt senior defensive lineman Stanley Ta’ufo’ou picked up the ball and ran it 23 yards to the house. It was USC’s first forced turnover of the season.

Freshman wide receiver Duce Robinson got the last touchdown of the day for the Trojans, getting a 71-yard touchdown on a pass from redshirt sophomore Miller Moss to cap off the dominant display from USC.

USC will have its third-straight home game next weekend, when it takes on Stanford in the opening of its final Pac-12 season.

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