LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – USC has not lost a home-opening football game since 1997. That streak continued with a 30-7 win over an overmatched San Jose State Spartans team. offensively, USC struggled in parts of the second and third quarter, but the defense played a major role in sealing the win for the Trojans.
“You know, you come out and you have a 30-point game against a good top-25 team in my mind,” USC head coach Clay Helton said. “That team is a good football team. The thing that I think we could do better is I’d like to see better red-zone efficiency. Instead of those two field goals, you know, I’d like eight more points on the board. But the thing that I was hoping for was just clean football and that’s what we got today.”
The Spartans two offensive stars Tyler Nevens, one of the top running backs in college football last season, was held to just 58 yards in 15 carries and Quarterback Nick Starkel only completed 52% of his passes, throwing a key interception to senior defensive back Greg Johnson in the fourth quarter with the Trojans leading by only 9 points.
Johnson returned the interception for a score. That pick-six turned the momentum and the rout was on. USC went on to score at will the rest of the quarter to close out a blowout victory.
“I think offensively some of our mistakes or errors or our lack of effectiveness gave them 14 points, a short field, and [a] pick-six,” San Jose State head coach Brent Brennan said. “So you take those away, feels like a much different football game, right? But that’s football. You can’t do those things. You can’t throw it to the wrong team.”
Kedon Slovis was 25 of 36 for 263 yards and two touchdowns. Keaontay Ingram led USC in rushing with 86 yards and 15 carries. Drake London seemed to be unstoppable and caught a career-high 12 passes for 137 yards. Memphis transfer Tahj Washington was responsible for scoring the game’s first touchdown on a 29-yard catch en route to a 56-yard USC debut.
“I just had to make the best of my opportunities, and I did,” London said.”
The Trojans who are ranked 15th in the nation got off to a slow start offensively even though they returned 8 offensive starters. They have an entire week of practice to work out the kinks with no reported serious injuries.
Helton acknowledged after the game that he’d prefer better red zone efficiency but called the 30-point afternoon “a great start.”
“I think there are some things we can correct on, definitely,” Helton said. “To come out of here, to be here in the Coliseum with these fans, with our students back and our fans back, I don’t think I could be happy than coming out 30-7 against a good San Jose State team.”
The Men of Troy’s next game will be at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 11 in a match-up with Stanford.
Featured Image Caption: Sept. 4, 2021. USC running back Vavae Malpeai (6) runs through a hole that his offensive line provides for him in the team’s 30-7 victory against San Josse State at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Photo credit: Sammy Saludo/News4usonline