The USC Trojans turned up the heat on ASU last Saturday, torching the Sun Devils 48-17, and spoiling any hopes of celebrating a homecoming win in front of 53,446 fans at Sun Devil Stadium.
Heading into the matchup against the No. 21 ranked Trojans, Coach Todd Graham’s squad had put together a string of solid all around performances which translated to wins. Most notably, an upset of 5th ranked Washington.
On Saturday, demons from the past seemed to haunt the Devils, giving the team, and its fans a reality check. You have to show up and execute, on every play, every week.
They didn’t show up and play to the expectations they set for themselves on Saturday.
The Defense, which perhaps led the way in previous weeks, reverted back to early season form, missing tackles and blowing assignments. On top of that, the Devils were penalized 10 times for 99 yards.
“We played very, very poorly,” ASU coach Todd Graham said. “Obviously, you have to give them credit. They whipped our butts.”
ASU also gave up several big, demoralizing plays to the Sam Darnold led Trojan offense.
The Heisman candidate completed 19 of 35 passes for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns. Six of those completions went to Tyler Vaughns who finished with 126 yards and 2 of the 3 TDs.
Aside from the air assault, the Trojans’ run game solidified a balanced offensive effort totaling 341 yards on the night. Ronald Jones II paced the rushing attack with 216 yards and he also added two touchdowns.
The offensive performance was reassuring to Coach Clay Helton after his team was limited to just 76 yards on the ground against the Fighting Irish a week ago. His Trojans amassed 607 total yards to remain atop the Pac-12 South.
When assessing his team’s effort, he simply offered this, “It was abundantly clear the game was won in the trenches,” Helton said.
In a chaotic moment just before the half, a long completion from Manny Wilkins to Kyle Williams that was initially ruled to be down inside the 1 yard line, was reviewed, and subsequently overturned. The resulting play was ruled a touchdown. The players from both teams had already entered the locker rooms and had to retake the field for the extra point attempt.
That gave the Sun Devils faithful hope leading into the second half, but on this homecoming weekend, it was not meant to be.
Photo Gallery: All photos by Kevin C Cox/ CORE360 Sports