The Trojan Marching Band might as well have been on top of one of those mountains that surround Sun Devil Stadium where the ASU folks had banished them to the highest rows of the third deck. But no matter.
As he was leaving the field, the Trojan drum major caught up with Adoree' Jackson and gave him the sword to conduct one final "Fight On" from far, far away. Not a problem, Adoree' said. Glad to do it.
But as he did, Adoree' kept a wide smile on his face as he engaged in a happy back-and-forth with USC fans who had made their way down to the field. Only AD Pat Haden seemed more cheerful at the big bounce-back win.
"We're feeling good tonight," Adoree' called out. "We're living it for the next 24 hours, then it's on to the film room . . . maybe I'll be staying at Coach Sark's house."
Then to a familiar face, "We played OK tonight, right?" After being told UCLA blew out Arizona, he responded: "Well, I guess we were average" with a big grin.
“He’s pretty good," Steve Sarkisian said of Adoree's career high 80-yard TD catch and 131 total receiving yards "But we’ve known this about Adoree', he’s a phenomenal player. The hardest thing about dealing with Adoree' is when and how and how many times. It’s a challenge because he’s so good in all three phases."
What worked in this game was getting him back-to-back offensive opportunities, Sark agreed. “Sometimes that’s a little easier when you can find a little rhythm for him, and that’s probably a better question for Adoree'. But once we get it to him, once we try to find a little rhythm because he’s in that mode of being on offense, and so it worked tonight and hopefully we can continue to utilize him in the future.”
CHawk's one worry
Chris Hawkins wasn't worried that he'd hear a whistle or see a flag ending his scoop and score chance to turn the game around at the end of the first half when he picked up the ball at the USC six-yard line that Delvon Simmons had jarred loose.
He was worried about only one thing. "I'm thinking 'I hope nobody catches me'," he said. "I was so tired from that drive. So when I picked it up, I was hoping I could make it before anyone caught me."
As it turned out, "Adoree' was the only one to catch up," CHawk said. And he was just there to cheer him on.
"That's when we're at our best," CHawk said, "when all three of us [D-line, linebackers and secondary] are working together . . . we really took it to heart about causing no turnovers the last two weeks."
Looks like WR Darreus Rogers has a hamstring pull and RUSH LB Porter Gustin had a knee tweak that he was getting looked at as he walked off at the end of the game. Both DB Kevon Seymour (knee) and NT Antwaun Woods (shoulder) were gametime decisions as they dressed out and although neither played, both are expected to be back for the Washington game in 10 days.
BY THE NUMBERS
642-74Cody Kessler's 642 career completions passed Rodney Peete's 630 for No. 5 on the USC career chart and his 74 TD passes now are third on the USC career list ahead of Carson Palmer's 72.
13-3USC's number of true freshmen played. That's 10 more than the three ASU played, which is the second-most in Coach Todd Graham's time here.
4-5-10For the fourth time in his career, Cody threw for five TD's in a game and for the 10th time, more than 300 yards (375).
80-71-100-plusAdoree' Jackson's 80-yard TD catch was his career long surpassing the 71-yarder against Nebraska and his 131 yards receiving in a game were also a career high.
1-4-100-3Juju Smith-Schuster has now caught at least one TD pass in USC's fourth straight game and recorded more than 100 yards receiving in three straight.
2 for 21This game was decided on two straight USC takeaways inside the five-yard line -- one with ASU at the USC one when Delvon Simmons separated QB Mike Bercovici from the football and set up Chris Hawkins' 94-yard scoop and score and the other on the next play when Quinton Powell knocked the ball loose on the kickoff return and Soma Vainuku fell on it and USC turned that into a TD in the final seconds of the first half. What could have been a 21-7 score at intermission was 35-0 and that was the game.
41-29Weirdest participation chart we've seen as those are the participation numbers in the final Arizona State stats for this game with USC playing 11 more than ASU but the numbers seem awfully low for a game played in 97-degree heat at kickoff. And especially so in a final stat book that showed USC with 27 different players making tackles.
6-5-4-3Speaking of tackles, USC had a number of freshmen at the top of the list with Marvell Tell's six tying Su'a Cravens for the most by a Trojan. Freshman LB Cameron Smith's five were next. Then freshman LB Osa Masina with four equalled senior D-linemen Claude Pelon and Delvon Simmons with freshman DB Iman Marshall's three equalling those of LB Lamar Dawson and corner Jonathan Lockett.
4 straightUSC has been the first team to score in all four games this season.
STEVE SARKISIAN On the focus on the football for this game: "You know what’s so cool, last night as a team it wasn’t just the defense. I probably went on a 30-minute barrage of about how to create turnovers and how we want to play defense and just getting after the football. It was so cool to come out tonight and to get four of them, you know. We went all the way to how to pick up the ball when the ball is on the ground, how to scoop it up. We went to the elementary phases of the game. So for it to happen that way, as crazy as it might have felt, for me and for these guys I think it was like 'Yes. Everything we’re talking about it turned out and it worked,' but that’s when we’re going to be really good and we have to get after the football. That’s what really good defenses do, and we were able to do it tonight, especially in the first half."
CODY KESSLER On the USC team's mindset here: "I knew the mindset going into this game, these guys were going to be effective, I knew that our team was going to come out, make plays and respond from last week and it was really cool to see. It is exciting and it makes my job a lot easier when all of the guys come to practice with that mindset and come out to the games and we do not have to a lot of yelling, me or coach, we can look in their eyes and know they are ready and I think these guys played great tonight."
ASU COACH TODD GRAHAM: On the game in its essence: "Those back-to-back scores, I mean, that was a 14-point swing, and I thought if we had punched that thing in and scored, I really, really thought because we were dominating the line of scrimmage defensively that we could win the game. We moved the football. I think there was five yards difference in the yardage. Who cares about that. But they were the better team tonight, and congratulate them, they did a good job."
John Plattenburg: On the criticism of the defensive coaches after the Stanford game: "It affects us . . . of course we hear it. We play for each other but we play for our coaches, too."
SU'A CRAVENS: On what this game showed him: "We've got heart . . . We came out prepared, we came out focused . . . we played for each other . . . you can't get down in the dumps after a loss . . . it's football."
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