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USC gives Helton first victory

USC gives Helton first victory
Published On: Fri, Sep 09
Nov 20, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams (12) keeps the ball for a run as he is tackled by Duke Blue Devils linebacker David Helton (47) in their game at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

USC quarterbacks threw four touchdown passes, Adoree' Jackson returned a punt for a touchdown and the Trojans gave Clay Helton his first win as a full-time head coach, beating Utah State 45-7 in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The Trojans (1-1) had lost three consecutive games, including last weekend's 52-6 rout by Alabama, since former athletic director Pat Haden removed the "interim" tag from Helton late last season.

Quarterback Max Browne of USC was efficient, completing 23 of 30 passes for 182 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. His first scoring pass was a 3-yarder to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster with 11:50 left in the first quarter after freshman Michael Pittman set up the offense with a blocked punt.

Backup quarterback Sam Darnold played some in the second quarter and all of the fourth quarter. He was 5 of 7 for 62 yards and two touchdowns.

USC gave up only 49 rushing yards to Utah State, which gained 428 yards on the ground last week in a win over Weber State, tied for the most in the nation in the opening week.

Running back Devante Mays, who had 208 rushing yards last week, managed 24 on eight carries against USC.

The Trojans led 24-0 late in the third quarter when Jackson retreated to pick up a bouncing punt before speeding up the middle for a 77-yard return. It was his fifth career return touchdown, including third on a punt.

USC starting left tackle Chuma Edoga was ejected with 13:35 to go in the first quarter after he shoved an official, who was trying to hold the lineman back following a post-sack scuffle with a Utah State player.

Edoga was starting because senior Chad Wheeler has been limited because of a foot injury.

USC running back Ronald Jones II carried only five times in the first half before leaving because of bruised ribs. Running back Justin Davis led the Trojans with 70 yards on 16 carries.

Utah State cornerback Daniel Gray was taken off the field on a stretcher after making a first-quarter tackle. He gave a thumbs-up as he was leaving the field, but there was no immediate word on the extent of the injury.

The announced attendance of 62,487 at the Los Angeles Coliseum was the lowest for a USC home opener since 2001, which was Pete Carroll's debut with the Trojans.

Read the complete news article here...

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