After punishing its first four opponents with a strong second half rushing attack, Arizona State never got its ground game up and running against USC on Saturday night.
The Sun Devils fell to the Trojans 41-20, and finished the night with just 75 rushing yards on 33 attempts, good for an average of just 2.3 yards per carry.
The Trojans' defensive scheme curtailed a Sun Devil rushing attack the team relied on heavily through the first four weeks, which was frustrating for junior Demario Richard, who finished the night with seven carries for 26 yards.
"It's very frustrating in the beginning, but we thought we were going to come in and do what we usually do," Richard said. "We kind of got off to a slow start and we usually pick it up during the game but we obviously didn't do that and it's very frustrating when we work so hard during the week and come up and give a game like that, it's frustrating and embarrassing at the same time."
Richard didn't play during the second half because of an injury, but said he's healthy this week and actually tried to go back into the game against USC in the fourth quarter. Richard said ASU's training staff opted to play it safe, and hold him out as the Sun Devils were on their way to their first defeat of the season.
At a Monday press conference, head coach Todd Graham said USC showed more complex blitzes than it had during its first three games, which cause the Sun Devils trouble along the offensive line. While Richard ran for 27 yards, his counterpart, junior Kalen Ballage, rushed six times for a total of just nine yards.
Richard said that while USC did show a more advanced defensive scheme than what it had revealed to date, the Sun Devils were able to adjust in the middle of the game and counter everything the Trojans were trying do do defensively.
"Adjustments were fine, every time they brought a pressure, they brought an extra man so it was kind of hard to make a hot read or something like that, but our adjustments were fine. After they brought the pressures that they brought the first few series, those are the pressures they brought the rest of the game."
After sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins was injured late in the first half, ASU was limited to just 11 total yards in the fourth quarter, with 10 of those coming through the air. Once redshirt freshman quarterback Brady White settled into his comfort zone, the Sun Devils' offense engineered a pair of scoring drives.
With Wilkins likely out for Saturday's game against UCLA, White is in line to make his first collegiate start against the Bruins. While White does not have extensive experience on the field, Richard said he's confident in ASU's backup because White has prepared each week as if he's the starting quarterback.
"He's (White) not a new quarterback, like coach Lindsey said, his preparation is the same like he's the No. 1 quarterback," Richard said. "So he's not new, we've been here before, he comes in every day with his hard hat and his toolbox, he comes in and he watches extra film, he prepares like he's the one, so it's not really new."