LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sam Darnold threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns, Ronald Jones II rushed for one touchdown and No. 14 Southern California defeated Oregon State 38-10 on Saturday.
Wide receiver Tyler Vaughns and tight end Josh Falo each caught their first career touchdown reception from Darnold as the Trojans (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) were workmanlike in bouncing back from last week’s 30-27 loss at No. 11 Washington State. Jones, who had 79 yards rushing and two receptions for 17 yards, scored a touchdown from scrimmage in his 12th straight game.
The Beavers (1-5, 0-3) recovered a muffed punt at the USC 29-yard line and a Darnold fumble at the USC 23-yard line when the ball slipped from his hand while attempting a pass, but failed to score on either possession after Jordan Choukair had a 46-yard field goal blocked by cornerback Jack Jones and missed a 37-yard try wide left. Choukair did make a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Artavis Pierce rushed for a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter and had 60 yards in place of starter Ryan Nall, who did not play due to a sprained left ankle. Darell Garretson was 16 of 29 passing for 197 yards and was intercepted by Jones on Oregon State’s first drive.
Linebacker Manase Hungalu made his fourth career interception when he read Darnold’s eyes and jumped a corner route intended for Vaughns.
USC was without right tackle Chuma Edoga for the second straight game because of a high-ankle sprain. Freshman Andrew Vorhees made his first career start in place of right guard Viane Talamaivao, who is out for the season after tearing his pectoral muscle against the Cougars.
Darnold’s backup Matt Fink rushed for a 51-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The score allowed long snapper Jake Olson, who lost his eyesight at age 12, to play for the second time this season on the ensuing extra point.
Oregon State: The Beavers were expected to take a step forward and possibly push for bowl eligibility in head coach Gary Andersen’s third season, but winning a single conference game looks like an unlikely prospect right now. Injuries have gutted the offense, while the defense played admirably despite the significant talent gap with USC. Oregon State spent decades as the doormat of the Pac-12 in its previous iterations, and finds itself back in the cellar.
USC: The offense is still too inconsistent. The emergence of Vaughns, a redshirt freshman who had five receptions for 68 yards, and the return of Steven Mitchell Jr. from a groin injury helped Darnold to his best performance of the season, but there were still long stretches where USC failed to put the game away. USC has to be much sharper next week against No. 20 Utah in a game that could decide who wins the Pac-12 South.
Oregon State: The Beavers host Colorado next Saturday.
USC: The Trojans host the Utes next Saturday.
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