Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

USC looks for a win and a boost in rematch with Texas

USC looks for a win and a boost in rematch with Texas

But in those final seconds of the game, Darnold led USC down to to the 14 yard-line, setting up the game-tying field goal by McGrath from 31 yards out.

The Texas Longhorns put up a valiant effort, but came up short as they fell to the USC Trojans 27-24 in a thrilling double-overtime game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliesum Saturday night.

After Stanford's run of dominance in recent seasons, the Trojans looked more physical. Although Texas and USC are now on different levels in terms of expectations, a win for either team could potentially catapult them to a phenomenal season.

Tom Herman is a Californian by birth but a Texan by choice. The Trojans faced a third-and-1 situation at the Texas 34-yard line. However, his season could not have started any worse.

Needless to say, Texas is going to have its hands full trying to slow down USC's offense.

USC finished with 468 total yards, including 397 passing yards from Darnold, but it was hard not to be impressed with the way the Longhorns defense, led by linebacker Malik Jefferson plus Elliott's two interceptions, played just two weeks after Texas allowed 51 points to Maryland. However, Texas rebounded nicely and defeated FBS punching bag San Jose State 56-0 and will look to build on that momentum this weekend against USC.

In what was billed as a reprise of a college football classic - the 2006 Rose Bowl won by the Young-led Longhorns - very little was classic USC.

The first three possessions of the game ended in fourth-down stops: Texas stopped USC on fourth-and-four at the Longhorns' 37. This season, the Trojans are expected to compete for a national championship and are now ranked in the top four according to the Associated Press. The Trojans were sleepwalking through the opener against Western Michigan until the talent prevailed with big plays in the fourth quarter.

A potential top overall pick candidate for the 2018 National Football League draft, Darnold finished the night with 397 yards and three touchdowns through the air, completing 28 of his 49 passes and engineering scoring drives as time expired at the half and in regulation that ultimately led to the relieving victory.

In a fitting indicator of the half's flow, the lone Texas score came via defense. This gave USC the ball and Sam Darnold did what he could to get the Trojans decent field goal position.

Through two games, it's clear coordinator Clancy Pendergast is still molding this group. The "Texas Tesla" already has 275 yards and five touchdowns on the ground in two games, showcasing his improved physicality along with his usual speed.

After the Texas turnover, Darnold threw a strike over the middle to Burnett who ran escaped defenders for a big 22 yard gain.

What the Longhorns defense did was give the offense a chance by holding USC in check, a hallmark of Todd Orlando's defenses at Houston against ranked opponents (think of the pressure on Louisville's Lamar Jackson).

Texas quickly responded with a highlight reel catch of their own, as Colin Johnson made a 28-yard catch with junior cornerback Iman Marshall draped all over him.

As for my prediction, I have to side with the Trojans. That's one Texas would regret. I expect Darnold to expose this Longhorn secondary and throw for several touchdowns.

Texas quarterback Shane Buechele missed last week's game with a sore shoulder, but returned to practice this week. FOX will be providing the TV coverage while the game can be watched online live on FuboTV. You can sign up for Sling TV's free 7-day trial.

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