Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
Lincoln Riley’s new coaching gig got off to a solid start, as the expectations were overly reached in a 66-14 win over Rice at the Coliseum.
The Trojans’ defense also took three interceptions to the house, and a stadium filled with winning-starved fans went increasingly wild for each and every score.
Calen Bullock, Shane Lee and Ralen Goforth returned three of USC’s four interceptions for touchdowns while the Trojans scored more points in Riley’s debut than they did had since 2008 under Pete Carroll. Lee also led the team in tackles with eight.
”This is definitely a statement,” star receiver Jordan Addison said. ”That’s what we wanted to do. Week 1, we had to show everybody that this wasn’t just no hype. We’re ready to play.”
Caleb Williams got off to a good start passing for 249 yards, rushed for 68 more and hit Addison for two touchdowns in front of some 60,113. The Sophomore completed 19 for 22 while leading six consecutive scoring drives to open the game,
Riley and Williams left Oklahoma during the offseason and reunited in Los Angeles to rebuild the Trojans, who are hoping for a swift return to regular national title contention. Riley hasn’t shied away from high expectations, and his team’s first outing was tantalizing.
”It’s a fun moment to finally be here,” Riley said. ”I think the team was anxious and excited after all the buildup, and just ready to go play, and we responded well. … It’s one of those moments that you don’t want to minimize. It’s meaningful to us all, but those of us that have been on these journeys before, we understand this is just the beginning, and there’s so much left, so much better to play.”
The team will have no weak link as it takes on Stanford this week-Channel 7 at 4:30 PM Saturday.
ADD PAC-12: The PAC-12 has named Arizona Quarterback Jayden de Laura the Offensive Player of the Week and Jalen Harris as Defensive Lineman of the Week, after a 38-20 win at San Diego State to open the season 1-0… De Laura passed for 299 yards and four touchdowns on 29-of-35 passing. Harris made eight tackles and one sack to help the defense hold SDSU to 62 yards passing and 189 total yards rushing.