Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici last week jokingly implied that USC's defense would need oxygen masks to keep pace with the Sun Devils.
USC ran 95 plays to Arizona State's 68.
But USC could not keep up with Bercovici, who passed for five touchdowns as Arizona State amassed 541 yards and beat the Trojans, 38-34.
USC nose tackle Antwaun Woods, Bercovici's friend and former teammate at Woodland Hills Taft High, said that blame for the loss could not be placed in any one area.
"It's a USC thing," Woods said, visibly frustrated. "I'm not pointing fingers at anybody. We just have to do better."
USC's defensive line was unable to consistently pressure Bercovici. He was sacked twice -- both times by linebackers.
USC Coach Steve Sarkisian said last week that defensive linemen other than Leonard Williams needed to be more productive.
Williams, who was averaging more than six tackles per game, made three against the Sun Devils.
Defensive tackle Delvon Simmons made four tackles. Claude Pelon did not record a tackle.
"A loss is a loss," Williams said as he emerged from the locker room. "It's always the same when you lose."