Sometimes when it's not your night, it is just not your night. For the Arizona State Sun Devils, it was just not their night Saturday as the Sun Devils fell to the USC Trojans 42-14 in their conference opener.
The Sun Devils were sloppy on defense and inept on offense as the Trojans capitalized on numerous ASU mistakes to gain their first conference win of the season. ASU committed four turnovers and the Trojans used a 28-point second quarter to pull away.
USC started off with a bang, as Cody Kessler found wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 52-yard gain on the game's first play from scrimmage. However, three plays later Kessler was intercepted by freshman Kareem Orr on the two-yard line. It was the the first interception of the season for Kessler.
Demario Richard got ASU off to a good start, taking a handoff 61 yards on ASU's first play from scrimmage. However, Richard fumbled later in the drive and ASU came away empty on its first possession.
The Trojans struck first when Kessler found Adoree' Jackson on a dump pass in the flat, making Jordan Simone miss and went off to the races for 80 yards to put USC up 7-0 with 10:31 left in the first half.
On the ensuing drive, the Sun Devils drove to the USC 30-yard line before being forced to kick a field goal. Zane Gonzalez missed the 47-yard attempt and the Sun Devils came up empty on their second offensive possession. It was the second miss of the season for Gonzalez.
The teams traded punts for the rest of the quarter and USC led 7-0 after the first quarter.
The offensive struggles continued to begin the second quarter, as Mike Bercovici was intercepted by USC defensive back John Plattenberg on a deep ball that was overthrown. ASU's first four possessions of the game went: fumble, missed field goal, punt, interception.The Trojans extended their lead to 14 early in the second quarter. Kessler found wide receiver Steven Mitchell Jr. for a 27-yard touchdown capping a nine-play, 74-yard drive that took a little over two minutes.
Following the USC score, the Sun Devils once again drove into USC territory and once again came up empty when Gonzalez missed his second field goal of the night, this one from 52 yards.
On the ensuing drive, the Trojans drove 66 yards in six plays for their third scoring drive of the night. Keller found Smith-Schuster from four yards out to put USC up 21-0 with 3:37 left in the half.
It seemed as if the Sun Devils were finally going to get on the board with less than a minute in the half. After Bercovici found De'Chavon Hayes on a 16-yard pass to the one-yard line. However, on the next play Bercovici put the ball on the ground and it was returned 94 yards by USC safety Chris Hawkins.
It if couldn't get any worse for ASU, Hayes fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting USC up at the four-yard line. Two plays later, Kessler found Smith-Schuster for a 10-yard touchdown pass to put USC up 35-0 with three seconds left in the half.
The Sun Devils finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter on a Demario Richard one-yard touchdown run capping an 11-play drive. Richard carried the ball 14 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns on the night.
The USC offense slowed in the second half, as they were held scoreless in the third quarter and did not score in the second half until the 10:41 mark of the fourth quarter when Kessler found Isaac Whitney from 10 yards out to put the Trojans up 42-7.
Kessler threw for 375 yard and five touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 197. USC only ran the ball for 80 yards, as it was Kessler and his receivers who did most of the damage. Smith-Schuster caught 5 passes for 103 yards and two scores. Adoree' Jackson, playing on both sides of the ball, caught three passes for 131 yards and also averaged 27 yards per punt return.
For the Sun Devils, the schedule does not get any easier as Todd Graham and company will head west to play the UCLA Bruins next Saturday.
Check back later for our full game recap and more analysis.