Trojans run wild against Fresno State

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (News4usonline) – The USC Trojans and Fresno State Bulldogs went after each other for the first time in several years at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 17.

The last time USC and Fresno State met was in 2019 when USC quarterback JT Daniels was 25 of 34 for 215 yards and a TD in the game. Daniels suffered an injury at the end of the first half but the Trojans still won by the score of 31-23.

USC running back Travis Dye (26) has a meeting with a Fresno State defender in the Trojans’ 45-17 win against the Bulldogs at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 17, 2022. Photo by Melinda Meijer/News4usonline

USC has looked impressive this season with quarterback Caleb Williams running the show for the Trojans. USC running back Austin Jones played against his former team for the first time and rushed 110 yards on 12 carries. Jones was not the only Trojans running back to have a big game.

Travis Dye joined the party, running for 102 yards on 11 rushes and scoring a touchdown. That is unbelievable for USC to have two rushers go over the 100-yard mark in one game. The Trojans wound up rushing for 233 yards as a team in their 45-17 win against the Bulldogs. That’s a lot of yards on the ground piled up by the Trojans.  

Compared to what they did last week in their road win against Stanford, the Trojans did not face a third down until the last drive of the second quarter. Last week, Williams passed for four touchdowns and 341 yards on 27 attempts. Wide receiver Jordan Addison caught seven passes for two scores and had 172 receiving yards. Against Stanford, Addison’s 75-yard TD was a highlight of the game.

After dispatching the Cardinal, the Trojans had to square off against a stubborn and rugged Fresno State team, whom they were playing just for the fifth time. USC walked into the contest with a prior record of 3-1 against the Bulldogs. Williams and Addison got things going for the Trojans, connecting on a 2-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams (13) fires away against Fresno State in a 45-17 win against the Bulldogs on Sept. 17, 2022. Photo by Melinda Meijer/News4usonline

Williams has now thrown five of his six touchdowns this season to Addison. Addison had a total of six catches for 69 yards. Williams finished the game going 25 of 37 of 284 yards with two touchdowns. The Trojans dominated the action in the first half, holding an 11-point lead at intermission. With Jones scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run at the beginning of the third quarter, USC expanded its lead to 28-10.

Any chance Fresno State had of upsetting the Trojans went out the window when quarterback Jake Haener suffered a foot injury after getting sacked by USC defensive end Solomon Byrd at the beginning of the second half. Haener had to be held out for the remainder of the game and was replaced by Logan Fife. 

The Bulldogs also lost another player to injury when Evan Willams went down with a knee issue. The problem with Fresno State is that the Bulldogs were unable to get the Trojans off the field, allowing USC to convert third and fourth down plays on multiple occasions. With the Trojans making all of these third and fourth down plays, that meant that USC punter Aadyn Sleep-Dalton didn’t have a lot of opportunities to get on the field much.

USC’s offense has been so good this season that Sleep-Dalton got has only managed to get on the field a handful of times to kick the football. It is the second time this season at home that USC Trojans have scored 40 points or more at the Coliseum. In their season opener, the Trojans dropped 66 points on Rice in a 66-14 win. This is unbelievable for USC.

After defeating Fresno State, the Trojans are now ranked No. in the country. This is the first time since 2018 that the Trojans started the season off 3-0. This win had a lot to do with the run game that the Trojans were able to utilize against Fresno State. The 45 points USC scored means it’s the first since 2005 that the Trojans pulled off scoring that many points in three games.

Featured Image Caption: USC running back Austin Jones (6) on the run against Fresno State at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 17, 2022 Photo by Melinda Meijer/News4usonline