Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams passed for four touchdowns and No. 6 USC cruised past San Jose State, 56-28, in Los Angeles on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
Zachariah Branch caught a touchdown and returned a kickoff 96 yards for another in his college debut for the Trojans, who amassed 501 yards of total offense.
USC went into halftime holding a 21-14 lead after San Jose State quarterback Chevan Cordeiro found a wide-open Nick Nash for a 28-yard score just eight seconds before intermission.
But the Trojans struck for a pair of game-breaking touchdowns to open the second half. Austin Jones, who rushed for a team-high 54 yards on just six carries, scored the second of his two TDs on a 3-yard carry to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive.
Jones had scored a 2-yard touchdown at the end of a 10-play, 52-yard drive in the second quarter.
USC pulled ahead 35-14 when Williams hooked up with Branch for a 25-yard touchdown with six minutes left in the third quarter.
Branch wasted little time finding the end zone again. After San Jose State scored on another Cordeiro pass to Nash, this time from 32 yards out, Branch took the ensuing kickoff the distance to snuff out any hope of a Spartans comeback.
The Trojans scored again when Williams threw the last of his four touchdown passes to Brenden Rice with 12:32 left in the game. Williams’ 18-of-25, 278-yard passing performance included a 76-yard scoring strike to Tahj Washington in the second quarter on a botched snap.
Williams took the ball off the bounce, evaded a would-be sack, then found Washington deep. The score followed a 13-yard touchdown toss to Dorian Singer that got USC’s scoring started.
San Jose State evened the count early in the second quarter as Kairee Robinson scored on a 1-yard run. The Spartans played from behind the rest of the way.
Cordeiro went 21-for-38 passing for 198 yards and three touchdowns, all to Nash. Nash caught six total passes for 89 yards.
—Field Level Media
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