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USC vs. ASU: Plagued by defensive miscues, Sun Devils trail No. 21 Trojans 31-10 at halftime

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ASU has not trailed by 21 points all season.

USC v Arizona State Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Cursed by missed tackles and an inability to create potent offense, the Arizona State Sun Devils (4-3, 3-1 Pac-12) found themselves trailing 31-10 to the USC Trojans (6-2, 4-1) at the half.

On the night’s first play, Sam Darnold was sacked for a 10-yard loss by D.J. Calhoun; however, it didn’t halt the Trojans. It took 85 yards, but USC took the lead, scoring on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Darnold to Deontay Burnett, in which cornerback Chase Lucas was beaten badly on an out route.

The Trojans led 7-0 with 11 and a half minutes to go in the first quarter.

USC then made use of its momentum, halting the Sun Devils to a three-and-out before Ajene Harris returned Michael Sleep-Dalton’s punt 21 yards to the USC 45-yard line.

With great field position USC went three-and-out, but punter Reid Budrovich pinned the Sun Devils at their own 2-yard line.

Wilkins then unloaded, throwing an underthrown, but somehow catchable pass 31 yards in the air to N’Keal Harry who was tangled with USC corneback Jack Jones, then ran to the USC 28-yard line for a 70-yard gain.

The miraculous catch led to a 39-yard field goal from Brandon Ruiz, who nailed it. The Sun Devils trailed 7-3 with just under seven minutes in the first quarter.

After an exchange of three-and-outs from both sides, USC then scored on a penalty-filled 75-yard drive.

Following a Christian Sam sack, USC stood at third-and-12 from its own 23-yard line before calling a timeout. Unaware that the play was dead, Tashon Smallwood ran past the line and into Darnold, as he was called for a personal foul, giving USC a first down.

One play later, Smallwood was called for a hands to the face penalty, pushing the Trojans 15 yards further to the USC 38-yard line.

Then, the Trojans furthered their lead. Darnold mustered a pass to Tyler Vaughns who juked past ASU cornerback Kobe Williams ran 42 yards in the open field for a touchdown, giving USC a 14-3 lead with two and a half minutes in the first quarter.

The Sun Devils then went three-and-out for a third time in the contest, giving the Trojans an opportunity to do some serious damage, which they did. And it took just three plays to do so.

Ronald Jones ran 67 yards into the end zone after he beat Williams on a juke move. USC expanded its lead to 21-3 just 36 seconds into the second quarter.

Following the score, the Sun Devils drove near midfield and pinned USC at its own 9-yard line.

The Trojans and Sun Devils then traded scoreless drives before USC scored once again.

On an 88-yard drive, threw a bullet through the ASU defense and into the hands of a jumping Tyler Vaughns in the end zone, giving USC a 28-3 lead with six minutes left in the first quarter.

Within the play, the Sun Devils lost starting safety Dasmond Tautalatasi after he lowered his head and hit Vaughs helmet to helmet. He was ejected for targeting.

The Sun Devils then ate up two minutes of clock on just three plays, but let USC drive to the ASU 33-yard line the next drive, as Chase McGrath made a 51-yard field goal to put USC up 31-3 with just under a minute remaining in the half.

The Sun Devils then finally manipulated a score. With one second remaining, Wilkins heaved a 46-yard pass that was tipped, then caught by Kyle Williams barely in the end zone, to put Arizona State a bit closer, 31-10.