Live updates: USC wallops Idaho, 59-9
USC completed their September journey through the lesser lights of the Sun Belt Conference and did exactly what it was supposed to do Saturday night at the Coliseum.
And expected to do.
The eighth-ranked Trojans crushed overmatched Idaho, 59-9, on Saturday night at the Coliseum, sparked by a career passing night from quarterback Cody Kessler, who threw for 410 yards. Kessler, who completed 26 of 31 passes, threw for three touchdowns, including two to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Smith-Schuster had an equally memorable night, with 10 receptions for 192 yards.
The Trojans also cleaned up another area of concern. After Arkansas State had five sacks last week in the season opener, the Trojans did not allow one on Saturday night.
USC (2-0) had five rushing touchdowns and the road will get considerably tougher when Stanford visits in a week.
Before that, remember this crazy stat: 114-15.
That’s the combined score of USC’s two victories this season against Arkansas State and Idaho. Just a lasting memory of the Sun Belt Conference mini-series.
USC 59, Idaho 9 (7:28 left in fourth quarter)
Perhaps the new battle cry should be: Sixty points or bust.
The Trojans are giving it a good shot and got closer with a contribution from another source on Saturday night: freshman running back Ronald Jones II, who has second touchdown in two games. Jones scored on a one-yard run but many thought he had done so on the previous play, an impressive 44-yard run.
USC challenged the call but the ruling on the field -- no touchdown -- stood.
Jones just took care of business on the next play.
Housekeeping note: For the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Max Browne is in for Kessler, who has had a career night, throwing for 410 yards.
USC 52, Idaho 9 (3:44 left in third quarter)
And then the air show turned spectacular. Again.
This time, Cody Kessler connected with sophomore JuJu Smith-Schuster on a 41-yard touchdown pass.
Smith-Schuster has 10 receptions for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
For Kessler, that’s three touchdowns and 410 yards passing.
USC 45, Idaho 9 (7:57 left in the third quarter)
If anyone was curious how the Trojans would respond after Idaho’s first touchdown, they didn’t have to wait long.
Kessler immediately engineered an efficient scoring drive, going six for six, culminating in a 28-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Issac Whitney. The drive was six plays for 87 yards.
More numbers to ponder: Kessler has completed 24 of 29 passes for 357 yards and two touchdowns.
USC 38, Idaho 9 (9:34 left in third quarter)
The Vandals finally got into the end zone with their longest, most consistent drive of the night -- 13 plays, 75 yards.
Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan connected with tight end Buck Cowan on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Linehan started against USC, went five for 11 in the first quarter, and was replaced by freshman quarterback Jake Luton in the second quarter but came back to start the third.
USC 38, Idaho 3 (halftime)
Forty points or bust.
The Trojans did their best to hit the 40-point mark by halftime.
They inched close with another first: The first career field goal by Alex Wood, who converted from 24 yards with 22 seconds left in the second quarter.
More numbers to ponder: Tre Madden has two touchdowns in seven carries for 40 yards, and Justin Davis has two touchdowns and 74 yards. JuJu Smith-Schuster has eight receptions for 139 yards.
The most dazzling moment of the half came from the Trojans’ Adoree’ Jackson, who helped set the stage for Wood’s field goal with a 30-yard run, making the Vandals look helpless in trying to stop him as he cut against the grain, cutting and weaving. It looked like a cartoon or even a video game.
You can be assured it will be in the Trojans’ highlight package at the end of the season.
USC 35, Idaho 3 (5:45 left in the second quarter )
The Trojans continued to score at will, even if a USC holding call wiped out an impressive run into the end zone by Ronald Jones.
Two plays later, Tre Madden had his second touchdown of the night, on a 10-yard run.
So far, it’s been a fascinating battle between Madden and teammate Justin Davis.
They are tied 2-2 in the touchdown department.
USC 28, Idaho 3 (12:01 left in the second quarter)
This time, the Trojans needed a little patience.
They had to wait a few more minutes before the initial call on the field was confirmed -- after a review -- following running back Tre Madden’s seven-yard touchdown run.
Alex Wood’s point-after was good to make it 28-3.
So far, the Trojans have put up 273 yards, averaging 10.5 yards per play. For Madden, it was his second touchdown of the season.
USC 21 Idaho 3 (14:57 left in second quarter )
Idaho Kicker/punter Austin Rehkow recovered from his poor punt in the first quarter to convert a 20-yard field goal at the start of the second quarter.
USC 21, Idaho 0 (4:16 left in the first quarter)
Touchdowns were coming in all forms, so why not a long bomb for the Trojans?
Quarterback Cody Kessler and receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster connected on a 50-yard touchdown play. Kessler is seven-of-eight passing, and it happened to be Smith-Schuster’s seventh career touchdown for USC.
The way for the scoring play -- the Trojans needed just one snap -- was paved by a subpar punt by the usually reliable Austin Rehkow, who only got off a 25-yarder.
Poor guy is probably getting a little tired.
USC 14, Idaho 0 (9:24 left in the first quarter)
Welcome to the Justin Davis Show.
Davis was at it again, scoring on a seven-yard run. But the key play on the scoring drive was his 43-yard run, which puts him past the 1,000-yard mark in his USC career.
He’s been efficient, or maybe he’s just making up for lost time after missing last week’s game. Davis is up to 69 yards in four carries.
USC 7, Idaho 0 (12:52 left in the first quarter)
Quick strike, thy name is Trojans.
USC didn’t waste much time, needing a mere seven plays to cover 75 yards to score in a little more than two minutes. The Trojans used a combination of short passes and deft runs on the drive.
Justin Davis, who missed last week’s opener because of injuries, scored on a two-yard run. The point-after by Alex Wood was good and the Trojans lead 7-0.
Call it the two-minute drill. In this case, 2:08.
Sun Belt, 2.0?
Very soon, eighth-ranked USC will face yet another unimposing Sun Belt Conference team, Idaho, at the Coliseum. A week ago, the Trojans opened the season with a 49-point win over Arkansas State.
In recent days, USC has been favored anywhere from 43 to 45 points over the Vandals. Additionally, Idaho will be without one of its top offensive weapons, wide receiver Dezmon Epps.
Epps, who caught an impressive 15 passes for 160 yards in Idaho’s 45-28 season-opening loss to Ohio, has been suspended for tonight’s game because of his alleged involvement in a shoplifting incident at a campus bookstore in August, according to media reports.
USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (abdominal strain) is expected to play, according to Times reporter Gary Klein. He had limited playing time in the opener but improved enough to take part in full drills later in the week.
And there will also be a subplot of family intrigue. Armond Hawkins Jr., a safety for Idaho, is the half brother of USC safety Chris Hawkins, a third-year sophomore.
Chris Hawkins described it as an “amazing feeling” that two had made it to Division I football programs in an interview with Times correspondent Lindsey Thiry, adding that he would treasure it “for the rest of my life.”
For additional game coverage, follow Gary Klein (@LATimesklein) and columnist Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) on twitter.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.