Live updates: Arizona State 38, USC 35 (final)


USC pulled to within 38-35 on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Jack Sears to Tyler Vaughns with 35 seconds left. But Arizona State recovered USC’s onside kick attempt, sealing the Pac-12 Conference victory for the Sun Devils. USC’s record falls to 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the Pac-12. The Trojans’ 19-game home winning streak is over. Arizona State’s record improves to 4-4 overall and 2-3 in Pac-12. ASU’s Manny Wilkins passed for 166 yards and one touchdown while he rushed for 89 yards and another score.

USC loses 38-35 to Arizona State, and its 19-game home winning streak is now over

USC pulled to within 38-35 on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Jack Sears to Tyler Vaughns with 35 seconds left. But Arizona State recovered USC’s onside kick attempt, sealing the victory for the Sun Devils.

USC falls to 4-4 and 3-3 in the Pac-12. The Trojans’ 19-game home winning streak is over.


Manny Wilkins’ 45-yard touchdown run gives Arizona State a 38-28 lead over USC late in the fourth quarter

On third-and-1 from the USC 45, Manny Wilkins faked a handoff, fooling the Trojans’ defense and keeping it for a 45-yard touchdown run to put the Sun Devils ahead 38-28 with 1:23 left.


N’Keal Harry’s 92-yard punt return for a touchdown gives Sun Devils 31-28 lead over USC

With 2:54 left in the third quarter, Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry fielded a punt at his own 8-yard line with seemingly nowhere to go.

But Harry bolted to his right, and, thanks to some poor angles taken by USC’s punt return coverage team, found the right sideline and tight-roped it for a ridiculous 92-yard run for a touchdown.

Arizona State suddenly led again 31-28, after USC had scored 21 unanswered.


With 10:24 left in third quarter, USC wide receivers Tyler Vaughns and Michael Pittman connect on 36-yard pass to give Trojans 28-24 lead

After Iman Marshall forced a Manny Wilkins fumble that was recovered by USC at the Arizona State 36, the Trojans struck again with a trick play.

Jack Sears threw a lateral pass to wide receiver Tyler Vaughns, and Vaughns chucked one deep to Michael Pittman Jr., who was covered closely by Arizona State’s secondary. Vaughns put his faith in Pittman, and Pittman repaid him by coming back for the ball and making the catch for a 36-yard touchdown.

USC has now scored 21 straight points and leads 28-24.


With 10:49 left in third quarter, USC pulls to within 24-21 on Velus Jones Jr. 8-yard touchdown run

The USC offense is finding its rhythm with Jack Sears in command and has put together back-to-back touchdown drives to pull the Trojans within 24-21.

Velus Jones Jr. took a jet sweep handoff and ran it in from eight yards out for the touchdown.

Sears is now 11 of 15 for 117 yards and one touchdown.


Eno Benjamin busts 49-yard touchdown run to give Sun Devils 24-7 lead over USC

USC is on the verge of being run out of the Coliseum and losing its nine-game home winning streak in embarrassing fashion.

Eno Benjamin gave Arizona State a 24-7 lead on a 49-yard touchdown run up the middle with 6:12 left in the second quarter.

The Sun Devils have scored 24 unanswered since Tyler Vaughns’ 82-yard punt return for a touchdown gave USC the early lead.


Arizona State takes a 17-7 lead on a 31-yard Brandon Ruiz field goal

Arizona State pushed the ball deep into USC territory but had to settle for a 31-yard Brandon Ruiz field goal.


After an option fumble by USC, Arizona State punches it in for 14-7 lead

USC can’t stop shooting itself in the foot. On Jack Sears’ fourth college snap, the Trojans called for an option pitch to Aca’Cedric Ware. Sears’ pitch was too close to Ware and went past him, and Arizona State recovered at the USC 6.

Eno Benjamin punched it in for the Sun Devils from the 3.

Arizona State 14, USC 7.


Manny Wilkins finds N’Keal Harry for 44-yard touchdown pass; game tied at 7

N’Keal Harry ran a pristine stop-and-go route and duped Ajene Harris. Manny Wilkins found Harry in stride for a 44-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7.

Harris, normally USC’s starting nickel back, is playing free safety in place of the injured Marvell Tell.


Tyler Vaughns’ 82-yard punt return for a touchdown gives USC early 7-0 lead

Tyler Vaughns took a punt return 82 yards right up the middle at the Coliseum to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead.


Marvell Tell joins fellow defensive captains Cameron Smith and Porter Gustin on sideline for USC

It was expected that Cameron Smith would not play for USC Saturday with hamstring and knee injuries. Porter Gustin was already out for the season with a broken ankle.

But Marvell Tell spending pregame warmups on the sidelines in sweats was a surprise. Helton said Sunday that Tell had some “bumps and bruises” after USC’s loss at Utah, and it appears those carried over a full week.

USC will be without all three of its defensive captains. The Trojans will depend on true freshman Talanoa Hufanga and redshirt sophomore CJ Pollard at safety and look to true freshman Chase Williams as a backup.


Trojans hope Jack Sears can be the latest San Clemente quarterback to provide a spark

Quarterback Jack Sears prepares to throw a pass during spring practice at USC's Howard Jones Field in March.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

For the coaches at San Clemente High, it is becoming a harder comparison to make: Sam Darnold to Jack Sears. One is a starter in the NFL, a newly minted $50-million man. The other skateboards back and forth from class to the McKay Center and is preparing to make his first start for the USC Trojans on Saturday against Arizona State at the Coliseum.

But one thing sticks out to Tritons coach Jaime Ortiz and offensive coordinator Troy Kopp when thinking about the two young men who lifted their program to heights previously unseen: They were playmakers first and had to learn to be quarterbacks.

Playmaking ability can be difficult to assess in certain scenarios, like a controlled practice setting where coaches are quick to call a play dead and limit improvisation. Darnold wasn’t fully able to show the USC staff what he could do until he was unleashed in a game. Trojans fans can only hope that too will be the case for Sears, who competed with JT Daniels and Matt Fink throughout fall camp but ultimately finished third on the depth chart.

“It’s hard to evaluate the total package with Jack,” Ortiz said. “He makes explosive plays with his feet, and coaches have a tendency to blow the whistle. I know Sam at the time was frustrated, thought he could extend the play, but they would blow the whistle. When they get into scrimmage mode and they are able to play an actual game, that’s where you see Jack’s true colors kind of come out.”

Read More


USC vs. Arizona State: How the Trojans and Sun Devils match up

USC players celebrate after the Trojans defense forced a turnover on downs against Colorado on Oct. 13.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

USC (4-3, 3-2) vs. Arizona State (3-4, 1-3)

Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Coliseum. TV: KABC Channel 7. Radio: 710 AM.

Marquee matchup

USC rushing offense vs. Arizona State rushing defense. Time is running out for USC to prove it can generate a consistent rushing attack in 2018. The Trojans last weekpounded away at Utah’s tough defensive front 29 times for 83 yards (2.9 yards per carry) and once again put everything on JT Daniels and the passing game. It was too much for Daniels, and USC could not extend drives, failing to convert on all 10 third downs in the first three quarters. With Daniels out because of a concussion he sustained against the Utes, USC will ultimately have a small chance to win without the ability to run the ball. Jack Sears will be taking his first college snaps, and, while he has the talent, the game will be moving at an extraordinary pace for him. USC will have to toughen up and grind out yards with Aca’Cedric Ware, Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeia — and an occasional quarterback run for the swift-footed Sears.

Read More