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USC Emerges Victorious From The Fog At Washington State

Jodee Sullivan |
November 1, 2014 | 6:38 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Freshman JuJu Smith was nothing short of impressive against the Cougars (Charlie Magovern/Neon Tommy).
Freshman JuJu Smith was nothing short of impressive against the Cougars (Charlie Magovern/Neon Tommy).
At rainy and fog-covered Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington, the USC Trojans (6-3, 5-2 Pac-12) dominated the WSU Cougars (2-7, 1-5 Pac-12), 44-17.

Coming into the game, one team was looking to start their run to possibly win the Pac-12 south and the other was just hoping to win out to make it to a bowl game.

Statistically, the Trojans are still in the mix to win the Pac-12 South.

Approaching kick-off, the weather conditions were less than favorable. With rain, fog, and high humidity, the weather was eerily familiar to the Boston College game—bad memories. 

Last year, USC and Washington State met at the Coliseum in one of the ugliest games in recent years for the Trojans. It was a low-scoring game, with WSU winning 10-7. Trojan fans were obviously unhappy with the Trojans’ performance as “Fire Kiffin” chants echoed throughout the Coliseum.

For Washington State, they looked to have their star senior quarterback Connor Halliday—the nation’s leader is yardage and TD passes—to lead the offense, but in the middle of the first, junior defensive end Leonard Williams sacked Halliday, leaving Halliday’s leg was pinned under Williams. 

SEE ALSO: How USC Can Win The Pac-12 South

Halliday immediately collapsed, screaming in pain. As the training staff brought out a stretcher for Halliday, redshirt junior quarter Cody Kessler and senior linebacker Hayes Pullard came out to comfort Halliday before he was carted off the field; it was a great exhibition of sportsmanship from the Trojans’ offensive and defensive leaders. Freshman backup quarterback Luke Falk came in for the Cougars. 

Along with the Cougars, there was an unfortunate injury for the Trojans. In the second quarter, sophomore safety Su’a Cravens was down on the field following a Cougars touchdown. He walked gingerly on his right leg as he was assisted off the field. Just before the half, Cravens was walked into the locker room. During halftime, he received X-rays and it was determined that he was out for the rest of the game with a sprained knee. In the second half, Cravens was back on the sideline on crutches supporting his team. Hopefully, it’s only a minor injury for Cravens as he is an integral playmaker for the Trojan defense.

Nelson Agholor was on fire and in rhythm with Kessler the entire game (Charlie Magovern/Neon Tommy).
Nelson Agholor was on fire and in rhythm with Kessler the entire game (Charlie Magovern/Neon Tommy).
The Cougars went four and out on ther first series and punted to Nelson Agholor who returned the punt with impressive speed for 65 yards for the TD, giving him the USC record. 

On the Cougars next drive, Hayes Pullard picked off Halliday and returned it to the WSU 19-yard line. Kessler connected with a wide-open Smith for the touchdown soon after, increasing the lead to 14-0. 

With their star quarterback out, Washington State mixed up their offense with more running plays than normal—something their fans aren’t used to.

Leading 14-0 after the first, USC defense still hadn’t given up a touchdown in the first quarter, outscoring their opponents 108-20 in the first. 

SEE ALSO: How Does Sark's First Year At USC Compare?

Midway through the second, it was obvious that Kessler wasn’t hesitating to throw the ball down field—something that’s been improving since his record-breaking performance against Colorado. With 10 minutes to go, he hit Agholor for a 49-yard pass from their own 31-yard line.

By the end of the first half, Agholor, Farmer and Smith each had over 50 receiving yards. 

After the second half kick-off, Kessler hit Agholor—who was at least seven yards from his defender—deep for an 87-yard touchdown pass, extending the lead to 31-10.

Kessler’s pass was USC’s longest pass play since Carson Palmer connected with Kareem Kelly for a 93-yard pass in 2001.

On the next series, the Trojans gambled and went for it on fourth and 7. Kessler connected with Agholor for 21-yards. 

By then, the rout was on and USC cruised to an easy victory.

The game was everything Trojan fans could have hoped to see from their team at this point in the season as they look to win out to try and top the Pac-12 South. 

The Trojans face California (4-4, 2-4 Pac-12) on November 13 at 6 pm at the Coliseum.


  • Nelson Agholor had 291 all purpose yard and two touchdowns. 
  • Buck Allen had 114 rushing yards, making it the sixth consecutive game he’s recorded over 100 yards.
  • Juju Smith had 74 yards with a career-high 3 touchdowns. This 17-year-old proved that he can play with the big boys on the gridiron.
  • Cody Kessler went 21 for 32 with five touchdowns and recorded a career-high 400 yards.

Reach Staff Reporter Jodee Sullivan here and on Twitter here.



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