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Texas scores 34 straight to blow by No. 22 USC

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J.T. Daniels staked No. 22 USC to an early lead, but Texas scored 34 straight points to blow past the Trojans for an important 37-14 win in Austin.

It was clear from the first snap Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando‘s game plan was to rattle the true freshman Daniels through a number of blitz looks. The plan didn’t work early, as USC converted six of its first seven third downs, Daniels hit 12 of his first 17 throws and USC raced to a 14-3 first quarter lead.

Suddenly, Texas (2-1) needed a touchdown drive or the game — and perhaps the season — would quickly get away from them, and a touchdown drive is what they got. Sam Ehlinger found Lil'Jordan Humphrey for a 47-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass, pulling the Longhorns within 14-10 with 13:23 to play in the opening half. Texas cornerback Kris Boyd intercepted Daniels on the next snap from scrimmage, but Collin Johnson dropped a would-be first down catch on 3rd and 8, forcing Cameron Dicker to convert a 46-yard field goal.

Hooking up twice with favorite target Amon-Ra St. Brown, Daniels moved USC (1-2) into a 1st and goal at the Texas 9, but Texas stuffed consecutive runs from the 1 to turn the Trojans away empty handed with 7:14 left in the first half. On the ensuing possession, the Trojans appeared to sack Ehlinger inside his own end zone, but officials ruled him out of the end zone and the call was upheld upon review. The drive was actually given new life twice when USC was flagged for roughing the punter, but Texas punted anyway.

Still, the lack of a safety call worked in Texas’s favor when the ‘Horns forced a three-and-out and Chris Tilbey gave Texas the ball with 2:20 to play before the break at its own 49 after a 13-yard punt. Ehlinger eventually guided Texas to the USC 33, and Dicker nailed a 46-yarder as time expired to give Texas its first lead of the night.

Texas carried its momentum into the second half, ripping off a 21-0 third quarter to put the game away. The Horns accepted the ball to open the half and moved 74 yards in 10 plays, scoring on a 27-yard pass from Ehlinger to Joshua Moore. After a Daniel Young fumble at the USC 15 handed the Trojans the ball and a chance to climb back in the game, USC moved to the Texas 32, setting up a 50-yard Chase McGrath field goal try, but the kick was blocked by Caden Sterns and returned by Anthony Wheeler 46 yards for a touchdown.

Ehlinger put the game away at the 1:42 mark of the third quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run.

Though Daniels started hot, USC’s inability to run the ball eventually did him in. The Trojans were credited with only 16 runs for minus-6 yards, forcing Daniels to throw the ball 48 times. He completed 30 for 322 yards — nine of which went to St. Brown for 167 yards — but the Trojans went dark on the scoreboard over the final three frames. Stephen Carr opened the scoring with a 23-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game, but finished with six carries for 13 yards. He was USC’s leading rusher.

Ehlinger, meanwhile, completed 15-of-33 passes for 223 yards with two touchdowns while rushing 17 times for 35 yards and a score. Tre Watson carried 18 times for 72 yards, and Young rushed 12 times for 57 yards.

The win was Texas’s 900th in program history; win No. 800 came in the 2006 Rose Bowl over USC.

The Trojans, meanwhile, have dropped back-to-back games by double digits for the first time since 2000, the year prior to Pete Carroll‘s arrival.

Daniels stakes USC to early lead, but Texas nudges back in front at the break

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After a lively and lengthy first half, Texas holds a 16-14 lead over USC at the break in Austin.

It was clear from the first snap Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando‘s game plan was to rattle USC true freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels through a number of blitz looks. It was clear immediately after that the plan wasn’t going to work.

Daniels completed 12 of his first 17 passes, leading the Trojans on a 9-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the game, then, after a punt, an 8-play, 53-yard scoring march, staking visiting USC to a 14-3 lead with 33 seconds left in the first quarter.

Suddenly, Texas needed a touchdown drive or the game would quickly get away from them, and a touchdown drive is what they got. Sam Ehlinger found Lil'Jordan Humphrey for a 47-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass, pulling the Longhorns within 14-10 with 13:23 to play in the opening half. Texas cornerback Kris Boyd intercepted Daniels on the next snap from scrimmage, but Collin Johnson dropped a would-be first down catch on 3rd and 8, forcing Cameron Dicker to convert a 46-yard field goal.

Hooking up twice with favorite target Amon-Ra St. Brown, Daniels moved USC into a 1st and goal at the Texas 9, but Texas stuffed consecutive runs from the 1 to turn the Trojans away empty handed with 7:14 left in the first half. On the ensuing possession, the Trojans appeared to sack Ehlinger inside his own end zone, but officials ruled him out of the end zone and the call was upheld upon review. The drive was actually given new life twice when USC was flagged for roughing the punter, but Texas punted anyway.

Still, the lack of a safety call worked in Texas’s favor when the ‘Horns forced a three-and-out and Chris Tilbey gave Texas the ball with 2:20 to play before the break at its own 49 after a 13-yard punt. Ehlinger eventually guided Texas to the USC 33, and Dicker nailed a 46-yarder as time expired to give Texas its first lead of the night.

For the half, Daniels completed 16-of-27 passes for 199 yards with an interception, hitting St. Bronw five times for 88 yards. USC managed only 16 yards on 11 credited rushes. USC converted six of its first seven third down tries.

Ehlinger started hot, but closed the half 7-of-17 for 132 yards with a touchdown. Tre Watson leads all runners with seven carries for 30 yards.

Texas will receive to open the second half.

J.T. Daniels to become second true freshman at USC to open a season as the Trojans’ starting QB

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Matt Barkley officially has some company in some very rarefied air.

Throughout the offseason,  redshirt sophomore Matt Fink, redshirt freshman Jack Sears and true freshman J.T. Daniels had been engaged in a three-way competition to replace Sam Darnold as USC’s starting quarterback.  Fink had served as Darnold’s primary backup a year ago and entered spring practice as the favorite to win the job.

Sunday night, however, USC announced that it will be the true freshman who will be under center when the Trojans open the 2018 season against UNLV next Saturday afternoon.

Daniels will become just the second true freshman to ever begin the season as USC’s starting quarterback, joining Barkley in 2009.

Daniels should actually be heading into his senior season of high school instead of leading a Power Five offense, but the Santa Ana, CA, product reclassified from the Class of 2019 to the Class of 2018.  He is also the second Trojan football player to graduate a full year early from high school in order to enroll at USC.  The first?  John David Booty in 2003.

The consensus five-star signee was rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 2 player at any position in the state of California; and the No. 16 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only two members of the Trojans’ class this year — wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, linebacker Palaie Gaoteote — were rated higher than Daniels.

After playing host to UNLV in the opener, the 6-3, 210-pound Daniels and his USC teammates will travel to Stanford in Week 2 for their Pac-12 opener before heading to Austin for a Week 3 matchup with Texas.  Both of the latter two games will be nationally-televised, primetime affairs.

Father of USC freshman WR dubbed the ‘Lavar Ball of college football’

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The basketball world got to know LaVar Ball quite well the last few years. If there is a college football of that on the horizon, the LA Times seems to think they found him.

John Brown, the father of USC Class of 2018 wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, has drawn comparisons to LaVar Ball for a variety of reasons that include the demand and vision for excellence in professional sports for his son. St. Brown was a five-star recruit for the Trojans in the most recent recruiting cycle, according to his Rivals profile. He was also ranked as the top recruit in the state of California and the top wide receiver in the nation. That alone brings reason to expect big results for St. Brown at USC.

The genes are certainly running in the family. John Brown is a former championship body builder. St. Brown’s oldest brother is former Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. Osiris St. Brown, the middle son in the family, will be a redshirt freshman this fall at Stanford. With so much talent in the family, John Brown may be tapping into his inner Lavar Ball by suggesting Amon-ra could play in the NFL right now.

This is, of course, a ridiculous thought considering that even the most talented college freshman still have a long way to go to be ready to compete at the high level the NFL demands. But where Brown differs from Ball is he expects his sons to have to earn any accolades that may come their way.

“I’m going to request [USC head coach Clay Helton] put his butt at the bottom of the charts and see what he’s made of,” John said in a featured story published by the LA Times this week. “Make him fight. Sharpen the knife.”

John even goes so far to suggest Amon-ra has his eyes on making some unprecedented (and likely impossible) college football history.

“He’s serious about everything,” John says.

Ask Amon-ra what his goals are for his first year with the Trojans. With an unblinking, straight stare he will tell you, “I want to win the Heisman. All three years.”

All three years, eh? Putting aside the prediction that Brown is already predicting his son is jumping to the NFL after his junior season (an idea that is not at all far-fetched if St. Brown plays out the way recruiting experts and USC expect he will), we have to smile at the historic bar Brown is setting for his son.

Only one player has ever won the Heisman Trophy twice (Ohio State’s Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975). It is also worth noting the last wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy was Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. Tim Brown of Notre Dame (1987) and Johnny Rodgers of Nebraska (1972) are the only other receivers to win the award since the Heisman Trophy was first presented in 1935. This may not go down in the history books alongside Beano Cook predicting two Heisman Trophy awards for former Notre Dame quarterback Ron Powlus (which never came close to happening, of course), but that does set the bar high for Amon-ra’s personal goals.

Brown may lay the foundation for athletic success for his sons, but fortunately for the college football world, he seems to be far more tolerable than LaVar Ball.

Four-star LB Solomon Tuliaupupu follows teammates to USC after considering Notre Dame, UCLA

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National Signing Day and a strong close for USC is seemingly a fact of life nowadays. The Trojans continued to land top prospects and close strong with the class of 2018 on Wednesday as they landed the signature of Santa Ana (Calif.) linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu.

“I’ll be attending the University of Southern California,” he said on ESPN2. “What sold me on SC was the Trojan family. With Coach (Clay) Helton, it’s faith, family and football.”

Tuliaupupu was awarded the Butkus Award as the top linebacker at the high school level this past season and was listed as a four-star prospect that was a top 10 player in the state of California. He joins a long line of players to make the drive up the gridlocked freeways from Orange County powerhouse Mater Dei High to USC, including five-star teammates in QB J.T. Daniels and top-ranked wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.

The Trojans are not likely to be done as the cardinal and gold will have a shot at several other top 100 players who are announcing later in the day.