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Sun, Aug. 18

College Football — USC 41, Arizona State 20 Sun Devils fall to Pac-12 rival USC

Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins (5) stays on the ground after being sacked during the first half against Southern California on Saturday night in Los Angeles.
Ryan Kang/Associated Press

Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins (5) stays on the ground after being sacked during the first half against Southern California on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — Sam Darnold passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns in his first home start, and Southern California emerged from its rough September with a 41-20 victory over Arizona State on Saturday night.

JuJu Smith-Schuster caught seven passes for 123 yards and a career-high tying three TDs for the Trojans (2-3, 1-2 Pac-12), who emphatically avoided their first 0-3 start to conference play since 2001 with a blowout of the previously unbeaten Sun Devils (4-1, 1-1).

USC racked up 34 consecutive points to take a 41-6 lead during the middle two quarters, and Smith-Schuster scored on catches of 5, 3 and 67 yards. Justin Davis had a 37-yard TD run among his 123 yards rushing for the Trojans.

Arizona State lost starting quarterback Manny Wilkins shortly before halftime when he was hurt while getting sacked by Rasheem Green. After averaging 48.8 points in their first four games, the Sun Devils didn’t reach the end zone against USC’s inspired defense until Brady White threw a 13-yard TD pass to Raymond Epps with 8:37 to play.

Darnold was confident and exciting in front of the Trojans’ home fans, rushing for a 3-yard score while going 23 for 33 with no interceptions. The freshman replaced Max Browne as USC’s starter last week at Utah.

THE TAKEAWAY

Arizona State: The Sun Devils came crashing back to reality with this embarrassment, and Wilkins’ long-term health could be an even bigger problem. They struggled to move the ball with either quarterback, and the defense was thoroughly overmatched — not for the first time this season, either. Arizona State has work to do.

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