Trojans finish strong against San Jose State 

Austin Jones led the TROJANSwith 54 rushing yards and 2 TD runs. He also scored 2 TDs in the opener last season against Rice. 

Austin Jones (6) easily scores one of his two touchdowns. The senior finished the day (Photo: Earl Heath)


By Earl Heath

Contributing Sports Writer


It was what should happen on the home opener if your the ranked 6th in the country. USC football team put a lot of points on the board. Led by Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams four touchdown passes it showed the offense was still there from a year ago. 

On the day Williams the Walter Camp Player of the Year went 18 of 24 picked up where he left off last season.   

This year help came from freshman wide receiver and special teamer Zachariah Branch had an amazing game rolling up 232 yards helping the TROJANS to a 56-28 win over San Jose State. 

Branch had a heck of a third quarter catching a 25-yard TD pass from Williams at the six-minute mark for a 35-14 lead. 

He had 12 rushing yards from scrimmage.  

The big one came after Nick Nash caught a 32-yard pass from QB Chevan Cordeiro completing a nine-play 75 -yard drive bringing the Spartans to within fourteen 35-21. 

Branch took the kick-off from the four yard-line, started with a slow-paced it up the middle broke to the left sideline put that baby in overdrive and raced by Spartan players. He slowed for a bit on a cutback to the middle looking like the roadrunner leaving the coyote behind. That brought the Coliseum crowd of 63,411 to its feet. 

The run made him the first to score a TD on a kick-off since 2019 and the first true freshman since 2014.  The 5-10 170 pounder became the first Trojan to score a TD and a kick in the return in the same game since Adoree Jackson against Notre Dame in 2016. He finished the night with 4 catches for 58 yards, a 14.5-yard average. “He makes it look easy “ sad teammate DB Mason Cobb. ”He’s having fun out here.”     

In the second quarter Williams was in shotgun formation and dropped the snap, after a short pursuit he gathered it and threw down field and hit veteran Taj Washington in stride- he then raced the rest of the way for a 76-yard TD. 

“I didn’t even know what happened,” said Washington. “I finished my route and looked up and there was the ball. Once I got the ball, I said ok now it’s time to turn on the jets.” 

Washington finished the game with a team high 85 receiving yards on 2 receptions. 

Austin Jones led the TROJANSwith 54 rushing yards and 2 TD runs. He also scored 2 TDs in the opener last season against Rice. 

On the defensive side safety Jaylin Smith led the team with eight tackles. Mason Cobb and Anthony Lucas each had 2 tackles for loss. 

“We played alright for the first game but we made a lot of mistakes.” said Cobb. We have to minimize our mistakes.” 

Spartans QB Cordeiro finished the game going completing 21 of 38 passes for 198 and three touchdowns.  He also has 80 yards on 10 carries rushing. He also had a 28-yard sack. 

Nash had 6 catches for 89 yards. The former QB from Woodbridge in Irvine also had 3 touchdowns. 

On Spartans QB Cordeiro Cobb stated: “He’s a dog. he’s a hard runner, I give him credit.” 

NEXT UP: The Nevada at the Coliseum -The Wolfpack averaged just 18.8 points per game, its second fewest in 31 seasons at the FBS level. Nevada ranked bottom 10 in the nation in pass efficiency and bottom 15 in rushing yards per attempt.