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Five things we learned in USC’s 42-14 win over Arizona State

Gary Klein and Lindsey Thiry discuss USC’s 42-14 victory over Arizona State from Sun Devil Stadium.

USC defeated Arizona State, 42-14, in Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday night.

Here are five things we learned in the victory:

Playing on the road

After playing three consecutive home games, USC had to go on the road for the first time this season.

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USC showed no signs of road jitters.

Sun Devil Stadium has one of the loudest atmospheres in the Pac-12 Conference. But the Trojans silenced the rowdy crowd early when Cody Kessler completed a 52-yard pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster on the first play of the game.

USC can force turnovers

USC went two games without a takeaway before forcing four turnovers against Arizona State.

Sophomore John Plattenburg made the first interception of his career in the second quarter and the Trojans’ ensuing drive resulted in a touchdown.

Delvon Simmons forced a fumble on the Trojans’ one-yard line that Chris Hawkins scooped up and returned 94 yards for a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens forced a fumble and Scott Felix recovered the loose ball.

And on special teams, Quinton Powell forced a fumble on a kickoff return that Soma Vainuku recovered to set up USC’s fifth score of the first half.

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Adoree’ Jackson’s playing time

There’s never been any doubt about Adoree’ Jackson’s playmaking ability.

But against Stanford last week, Jackson was only used on nine plays on offense and the ball was never thrown to him.

Against Arizona State, Jackson caught three passes for a game-high 131 yards and a touchdown.

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He was just as exciting on special teams. He returned two punt for 53 yards, including a 45-yarder.

Penalties continue to be a problem

USC committed eight penalties for 87 yards in last week’s loss to Stanford.

The problem didn’t improve against Arizona State.

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The Trojans were called for 10 penalties, which resulted in a loss of 91 yards.

Several of the penalties were committed by the offensive line.

Can’t slow the run

USC’s defense looked much improved from its dismal performance against Stanford, but the Trojans still had a hard time stopping the run.

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Arizona State rushed for 182 yards.

Demario Richards rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns in 14 carries, a 9.4 yard average each carry.

USC must find a way to improve its run defense.

Questions or comments about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a weekly USC Now mailbag.

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