Arizona State 38, USC 35
What Happened: Arizona State got up 24-7 in the first half – helped by a 44-yard touchdown catch from N’Keal Harry, but USC came roaring back. The Trojans got two touchdown catches from Michael Pittman to take a 28-24 lead, but just when the tide turned, Harry struck again with a 92-yard punt return for a score. ASU QB Manny Wilkins put the game out of reach with a 45-yard touchdown dash with just over a minute to play.
What Mattered: With JT Daniels out, USC backup quarterback Jack Sears wasn’t bad. He completed 20-of-28 passes for 235 yards and two scores. The running game provided a little help, but ASU was too explosive – the passing game had to keep working to get back in the game.
– Speaking of ground attack, ASU tore off 283 yards and three scores, with Eno Benjamin running 29 times for 185 yards and two scores. Harry ran for five yards, caught four passes for 95 yards and a score, and return the punt for a key score.
Thoughts: Arizona State needed this. Now it needs to with two of the final four games to go bowling with Utah and UCLA at home, and Oregon and Arizona on the road. Lose at USC, and forget winning three of the last four. Now the Herm Edwards first season has a legitimate shot of being a success – beyond just beating Michigan State and USC in the same season.
– USC is in a strange spot. It could win out, get a few Utah losses, and still be in this for the Pac-12 title. That’s probably not going to happen, and on the other side, if the Trojans biff either of the next two games against Oregon State or Cal, there’s a chance – if UCLA rises up in the rivalry game and with Notre Dame to close – it’ll take a little work just to get bowling.
That won’t happen, either – bowling won’t be an issue – but this season is quickly falling into the abyss. Worst of all, JT Daniels is hurt – he needs all the live reps he can get.