LOS ANGELES — — Southern California scored on each considered one of its possessions within the first three quarters. The Trojans’ protection additionally took three interceptions to the home, and a stadium crammed with winning-starved followers went more and more wild for each rating.
Lincoln Riley’s tenure is off to a rip-roaring begin, and his gamers sound assured their revitalization of a powerhouse program will get even higher.
“That is positively a press release,” star receiver Jordan Addison mentioned. “That’s what we needed to do. Week 1, we needed to present everyone that this wasn’t simply no hype. We’re able to play.”
Caleb Williams handed for 249 yards, rushed for 68 extra and hit Addison for 2 touchdowns in No. 14 USC’s 66-14 victory over Rice on Saturday.
Calen Bullock, Shane Lee and Ralen Goforth returned three of USC’s 4 interceptions for touchdowns whereas the Trojans scored extra factors in Riley’s debut than they did in any sport below Clay Helton, who was fired final season earlier than USC sank to its worst document in 30 years.
With Williams going 19 for 22 whereas main six consecutive scoring drives to open the sport, USC had its highest-scoring efficiency since 2008, when this system nonetheless reigned close to the highest of school soccer below Pete Carroll.
Riley and Williams left Oklahoma through the offseason and reunited in Los Angeles to rebuild the Trojans, who’re hoping for a swift return to common nationwide title rivalry. Riley hasn’t shied away from excessive expectations, and his crew’s first outing was tantalizing.
“It is a enjoyable second to lastly be right here,” Riley mentioned. “I feel the crew was anxious and excited after all of the buildup, and simply able to go play, and we responded effectively. … It is a type of moments that you do not need to decrease. It is significant to us all, however these of us which were on these journeys earlier than, we perceive that is only the start, and there is a lot left, so a lot better to play.”
Newcomers made massive performs all around the subject for the Trojans, who welcomed 24 transfers within the offseason. Stanford switch Austin Jones and freshman Raleek Brown rushed for early touchdowns, whereas Addison — final season’s Biletnikoff Award winner at Pitt — scored on USC’s opening drive and completed with 5 catches for 54 yards.
Darwin Barlow additionally rushed for a rating within the Trojans’ 538-yard assault.
“We now have quite a lot of confidence, and we did not simply construct that confidence popping out right here within the first sport,” Williams mentioned. “We constructed that by exercises. We constructed that lately. Simply coming collectively, all one, that is one of the simplest ways to do it.”
Wiley Inexperienced handed for 69 yards for Rice earlier than leaving with a proper arm harm within the second quarter after Bullock returned his interception 93 yards. Orange County native TJ McMahon took over, however threw three interceptions within the faculties’ first assembly since 1971.
Ari Broussard rushed for 2 scores, and Cameron Montgomery had 99 yards on the bottom for the Owls.
After Bullock’s electrifying TD, Alabama switch Lee introduced his interception again 40 yards on the opening drive of the third. Goforth made a 31-yard TD return on Rice’s subsequent drive.
“There’s 4 performs that basically led to this sport going the best way it did from a lopsided method, and that’s actually these 4 interceptions, and positively the three that had been pick-6’s,” Rice coach Mike Bloomgren mentioned. “I imply, that’s one thing that’s actually onerous to cope with. I’m simply proud that our youngsters did maintain combating.”
USC hadn’t returned three interceptions for scores since Nov. 11, 1982, at Arizona. The Trojans fell one in need of the NCAA document for pick-6’s.
“Hopefully we are able to get 4 pick-6’s subsequent week,” Riley mentioned with amusing when requested the place his protection wants to enhance. “That will be superior.”
Successful-starved crowd of 60,113 braved 95-degree temperatures round kickoff to welcome Riley, Williams, Addison and the remainder of the brand new Trojans to the 99-year-old Coliseum.
“This stadium is so elite,” Riley mentioned. “Even these of us which have coached in quite a lot of actually cool stadium, this place, watching a school soccer sport right here, I do not know the way it will get any higher.”
RALEEK THE FREAK
Brown had a stellar debut with 76 mixed yards on simply eight touches, and he celebrated his spectacular 14-yard TD run by putting a Heisman pose.
The freshman left the sector postgame on a cart with ice round his proper ankle, however the Trojans did not appear critically involved about his well being.
Rice: The Owls had been aggressive earlier than the turnovers. The potential seriousness of Inexperienced’s harm is a a lot greater concern than the blowout, however Bloomgren had no instant replace on his quarterback’s situation.
USC: The primary quarter might resemble a lot of this season below Riley, who landed way more offensive expertise than defensive difference-makers within the switch portal. USC racked up 9.3 yards per play, however had some tough defensive stretches. Huge 12-style, high-scoring shootouts might be the norm.
USC has spent practically each September through the 13 seasons since Carroll’s departure failing to reside as much as overly optimistic early rankings. This new crew continues to be imperfect, however Riley’s Trojans instantly appear like they deserve their spot.
Rice: Host McNeese State on Saturday.
USC: At Stanford on Saturday.