Trojans run past Fresno State, face the Beavers on the road Saturday

Caleb Williams threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more and Austin Jones and Travis Dye both ran for more than 100 yards to lead No. 7 Southern California to a 45-17 nonconference victory last Saturday night over Fresno State before 67,226 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

USC entered week 3 as the #1 ranked offense in the nation and they continued to display abalanced offensive attack by gaining 517 total yards. Although USC has won each of its first three games by 10 or more points, which they have not done since the 2007 season, there is a glaring hole on this team. Their defense.

The No. 103 defense in the nation surrendered 421 total yards against Fresno State, but teams don't get credit for yards, just points. "We're always three downs away from getting off the field," USC defensive lineman Solomon Byrd said. USC knows that it must fix its' issues moving forward.

"We're a bend but don't break defense," USC linebacker Shane Lee said. "So, we must figure out what we need to adjust from a schematic standpoint or whatever went wrong. You obviously don't want to give up that many yards, but again, 17 points, and we still won the game. That's the main goal. "With the win, USC improves to 3-0 on the season. Fresno State falls to 1-2.

At halftime, USC led 21-10. The game turned in the second half when USC scored 17 unanswered points. After a third-quarter touchdown, Fresno State's final three drives: missed field goal, turnover on downs and another turnover on downs.

USC head coach Lincoln Riley had prepared his team all week for Fresno State's physicality. "Be the hunter, not the hunted," Williams stated about USC's approach toward the game.

"We wanted to play a full game, and that's been our whole thing this whole week," Riley said. "We said all week with our team that we're going to get tested, and we're going to be faced with some situations in this game that we haven't been in yet as a team. It was good to see us really respond. I'm really proud of the way we played in the second half."

Jones carried 12 times for 111 yards and a touchdown. Dye carried 11 times for 102 yards and a touchdown. Jones and Dye became the first pair of USC running backs to both have 100 or more yards in the same game since Nov. 3, 2018 vs. Oregon State, when Aca'Cedric Ware had 205 yards and Vavae Malepeai had 101 yards.

Fresno State running back Jordan Mims registered 100-yards rushing for the second-straight game, carrying 15 times for 114 yards. Malik Sherrod carried eight times for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Saturday USC travels to Oregon State to play the Beavers at 6:30 p.m. The Beavers are 3-0 and are led by quarterback Nolan Chance who has thrown for 746 yards and seven touchdowns. One of his top receivers is Anthony Gould who has caught eight passes for 188 yards. Their top two running backs are Deshaum Fenwick and Damien Martinez. Oregon State has scored 137 points in their three games.


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