LOS ANGELES (AP) —Southern California’s humiliating loss to Alabama didn’t linger.
Max Browne and Sam Darnold passed for two touchdowns apiece, Adoree Jackson returned a punt 77 yards for a score, and USC rebounded with a 45-7 victory over Utah State on Saturday.
JuJu Smith-Schuster caught two TD passes as the Trojans (1-1) showed no hangover from their 52-6 loss to the top-ranked Crimson Tide last week in Texas, the biggest season-opening loss in school history and their most lopsided defeat since 1966.
While the offense had several solid drives for both quarterbacks, the USC defense shut out the Aggies (1-1) until Kent Myers’ 6-yard TD pass to Wyatt Houston on the last play of the third quarter.
Browne was mostly sharp in his first career victory as a starter, completing 23 for 30 with one interception. Darnold threw his first touchdown pass for USC in the second quarter, hitting Deontay Burnett on his first play.
Jackson picked up a bouncing punt late in the third quarter and sliced through Utah State for the third punt-return TD of his career.
Darreus Rogers had a career-high seven catches for 82 yards for the Trojans, who overcame the ejection of left tackle Chuma Edoga on the opening drive for making contact with an official.
Utah State: The Aggies didn’t get embarrassed by the Trojans, but their defense got a reality check after stifling Weber State in a 45-6 win last week. They’ll also have to check their injury losses after a punishing game at the Coliseum.
USC: The Trojans avoided their first 0-2 start to a season since 1997. USC also ended a three-game skid dating to last season’s victory over UCLA while getting coach Clay Helton’s first victory of his first full season in charge.
Utah State: The Aggies host Arkansas State.
USC: The Trojans travel to Stanford, which clobbered them in the Pac-12 title game last season. USC has lost four straight away games.
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