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No. 20 USC scores 14 points in the final 3 minutes to beat Arizona State

Nick Bromberg
·3-min read

USC needed a frantic comeback to open the Pac-12 season with a 28-27 win over Arizona State.

The No. 20 Trojans scored 14 points in the final three minutes to steal an upset away from the Sun Devils. Kedon Slovis’ fourth-down TD pass into double coverage to Drake London with 1:20 to go provided the winning margin.

That TD was set up by an onside kick with 2:52 to go. Bru McCoy caught a TD pass that bounced off Amon-Ra St. Brown’s hand to cut ASU’s lead to six with less than three minutes to go. USC was out of timeouts at that point, so the Trojans went for the onside kick. And it worked.

The ball bounced off a Sun Devil and was eventually recovered by the Trojans. Six plays later, Slovis threw that 21-yard pass to London.

USC turned the ball over four times

The 14 points the Trojans scored in the final three minutes matched their total from the first 57 minutes of the game. USC squandered numerous opportunities until the final minutes and fumbled three times while Slovis threw an interception. There was also a crucial fourth-down failure at the ASU six

The third fumble looked like it was going to seal the loss. Markese Stepp lost the ball with just over six minutes to go with USC down 13. But Arizona State had to punt the ball back to USC. And that’s when the comeback began.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07:  Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans makes a pass against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half of a game at Los Angeles Coliseum on November 07, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
USC QB Kedon Slovis threw 55 passes on Saturday. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

USC ran 95 plays

USC’s inability to score until the final few minutes was magnified by the number of plays the Trojans ran. USC ran a staggering 95 plays as Slovis threw 55 passes and the team tried 40 rushes.

Slovis was 40-of-55 passing for 381 yards and two touchdowns. The Trojans also rushed for 181 yards as both Stepp and Stephen Carr scored rushing touchdowns.

Pac-12’s first 9 a.m. kickoff

Saturday’s game was the first of the 2020 Pac-12 season and the first time a Pac-12 game had kicked off at 9 a.m. Pacific Time. The game was sloppy at times and that sloppiness was likely a combination of first-game miscues and pre-dawn wakeups.

Arizona State was the team that was the least sloppy for most of the game. The Trojans had a major tackling problem for the first three quarters and that was evident on Rachaad White’s 55-yard catch-and-run TD.

ASU QB Jayden Daniels was just 11-of-23 passing for 134 yards and a TD, though he ran 11 times for 111 yards. Daniels was able to find scrambling room thanks to USC’s defense playing a lot of man coverage. That opened up scrambling lanes for Daniels.

The Sun Devils ended up rushing 38 times for 258 yards.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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