Drive Chart
UNLV
USC

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Daniels, No. 15 USC shake off slow start to beat UNLV 43-21

LOS ANGELES (AP) Southern California head coach Clay Helton walked up to quarterback JT Daniels, looking into his eyes for confirmation the second freshman to start a season opener in the program's storied history was not overwhelmed by the moment.

''They're either that big,'' said Helton, holding his hands wide open, ''or they're like, `All right, let's roll.' "

Daniels was ready, throwing for 282 yards with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown to help the No. 15 Trojans overcome a sluggish performance and defeat UNLV 43-21 on Saturday.

Outside of an early gaffe where Daniels turned the wrong way trying to hand the ball off to running back Stephen Carr, forcing the 2017 Gatorade national player of the year to scramble for a 5-yard gain, there were no apparent nerves from the 18-year-old.

Daniels did admit to feeling goosebumps coming down the tunnel for the first time before joining Matt Barkley in 2009 to start in his USC debut.

''It's hard to put in words what it's like to run out there and hear everybody cheering for you and rooting you on. For my first time in the Coliseum, it was really magical,'' said Daniels, who was 22 of 35 passing.

Daniels began to find a rhythm on his third drive with three consecutive completions to fellow freshman St. Brown. The former Mater Dei High School teammates connected for their first college touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, with St. Brown getting a step behind cornerback Jericho Flowers on a post route to give USC a two-possession lead.

''I don't care if you're a four- or five-star guy, I don't care if you're the No. 1 guy in the country. You walk into a place like SC, you get named the starter, you gotta go into the Coliseum and win a football game, that's tough for any kid,'' UNLV coach Tony Sanchez said. ''Overall, I respect the heck out of him and thought he did a good job.''

St. Brown had seven receptions for 98 yards, Aca'Cedric Ware rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown, and Vavae Malepeai scored the first of two touchdowns on a 2-yard run late in the second quarter that gave USC a lead it would not relinquish.

Chase McGrath, another Mater Dei product, kicked five field goals to tie a school record.

UNLV used early big plays to hang with the defending Pac-12 champions for three quarters. Lexington Thomas gained 71 of his 138 yards rushing on a touchdown run after faking a reverse to freeze defenders and put UNLV ahead 7-6 late in the first quarter.

Armani Rogers threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Kendal Keys to go up 14-9 after UNLV extended the drive with a 36-yard run by Evan Austrie on a fake punt.

Rogers was 12 of 27 for 97 yards and two touchdown passes, adding 82 yards rushing despite being sacked five times.

''I know - myself, our coaches, our kids - we're now getting on that bus riding home with genuine disappointment in the outcome of the game,'' Sanchez said. ''It does not feel good to play those guys tough for most of the night and walk away with the loss. We feel like we had opportunities to win that football game, and it's been a long time since we've had a team that could actually come out here and do that.''

THE TAKEAWAY

UNLV: The Rebels can run the ball. UNLV finished with 308 yards on the ground, and looked like a team more than capable of making a bowl game for the first time since 2013.

USC: The Trojans need to tighten up on defense, and quickly. Bryce Love, the star running back for No. 13 Stanford, will like his chances to boost his Heisman Trophy candidacy next week against a USC defense that continued last season's penchant for allowing explosive gains.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

USC didn't do much to impress voters in the short term. However, Daniels' improvement over the course of the game bodes well for Helton in his third season, especially with road games against the Cardinal and Texas up next.

PROMPT PORTER

It didn't take long for USC outside linebacker Porter Gustin to make his presence known despite undergoing knee surgery on Aug. 8. He recovered Thomas' fumble on the first play of the game before sacking Rogers on UNLV's third snap. Finishing with 1 1/2 sacks among his three tackles, the senior was a regular presence in the UNLV backfield.

INJURY REPORT

Keys left the game late in the second quarter and was being examined for a possible head injury after landing hard trying to make a diving catch.

Redshirt freshman Brett Neilon started at center for USC, as senior Toa Lobendahn did not dress because of a strained pectoral muscle.

UP NEXT

UNLV: Hosts UTEP on Saturday.

USC: Opens Pac-12 play at Stanford on Saturday. The Trojans beat the Cardinal twice last season, including a 31-28 win in the conference title game.

---

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Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:38
40-C.McGrath extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
21
43
Touchdown 1:38
29-V.Malepeai runs 20 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
43
yds
01:41
pos
21
42
Field Goal 4:44
40-C.McGrath 36 yards Field Goal is Good.
7
plays
57
yds
03:22
pos
21
36
Point After TD 8:06
30-E.Pantels extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
21
33
Touchdown 8:06
1-A.Rogers complete to 45-G.Fauolo. 45-G.Fauolo runs 5 yards for a touchdown.
10
plays
75
yds
04:33
pos
20
33
Point After TD 12:39
40-C.McGrath extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
33
Touchdown 12:39
28-A.Ware runs 15 yards for a touchdown.
4
plays
59
yds
01:19
pos
14
32
Point After TD 14:52
40-C.McGrath extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
26
Touchdown 14:52
18-J.Daniels complete to 8-A.St.Brown. 8-A.St.Brown runs 43 yards for a touchdown.
4
plays
69
yds
00:28
pos
14
25
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:04
40-C.McGrath extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
19
Touchdown 1:04
29-V.Malepeai runs 2 yards for a touchdown.
9
plays
84
yds
02:17
pos
14
18
Field Goal 9:23
40-C.McGrath 47 yards Field Goal is Good.
4
plays
9
yds
00:58
pos
14
12
Point After TD 10:32
30-E.Pantels extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
9
Touchdown 10:32
1-A.Rogers complete to 84-K.Keys. 84-K.Keys runs 31 yards for a touchdown.
7
plays
75
yds
02:40
pos
13
9
Field Goal 13:16
40-C.McGrath 29 yards Field Goal is Good.
12
plays
96
yds
02:09
pos
7
9
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 2:37
30-E.Pantels extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
6
Touchdown 2:37
3-L.Thomas runs 71 yards for a touchdown.
2
plays
75
yds
00:41
pos
6
6
Field Goal 3:23
40-C.McGrath 38 yards Field Goal is Good.
10
plays
65
yds
04:44
pos
0
6
Field Goal 14:13
40-C.McGrath 46 yards Field Goal is Good.
3
plays
1
yds
00:39
pos
0
3
Team Stats
1st Downs 17 23
Rushing 13 10
Passing 4 11
Penalty 0 2
3rd Down Conv 5-15 7-16
4th Down Conv 1-2 0-0
Total Net Yards 388 485
Total Plays 70 73
Avg Gain 5.5 6.6
Net Yards Rushing 308 219
Rush Attempts 43 38
Avg Rush Yards 7.2 5.8
Net Yards Passing 80 266
Comp. - Att. 12-27 22-35
Yards Per Pass 3.0 7.6
Sacked - Yards Lost 5-17 2-16
Penalties - Yards 4-35 6-58
Touchdowns 3 4
Rushing TDs 1 3
Passing TDs 2 1
Other 0 0
Turnovers 1 0
Fumbles - Lost 2-1 0-0
Int. Thrown 0 0
Punts - Avg 7-40.9 4-28.8
Return Yards 68 177
Punts - Returns 0-0 3-63
Kickoffs - Returns 3-68 3-114
Int. - Returns 0-0 0-0
Kicking 3/4 9/9
Extra Points 3/3 4/4
Field Goals 0/1 5/5
Safeties 0 0
1234T
UNLV 0-1 770721
15 USC 1-0 61302443
80 PASS YDS 266
308 RUSH YDS 219
388 TOTAL YDS 485
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
A. Rogers 1 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
44.4% 97 2 0 99.1
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
44.4% 97 2 0 99.1
A. Rogers 12/27 97 2 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
L. Thomas 3 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
14 136 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
14 136 1
L. Thomas 14 136 1 71
A. Rogers 1 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
18 82 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
18 82 0
A. Rogers 18 82 0 34
E. Austrie 17 DB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 36 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 36 0
E. Austrie 1 36 0 36
X. Campbell 35 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 24 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 24 0
X. Campbell 4 24 0 16
E. Owens 29 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 18 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
4 18 0
E. Owens 4 18 0 8
C. Williams 8 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 15 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 15 0
C. Williams 1 15 0 15
T. Collins 9 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 -3 0
T. Collins 1 -3 0 -3
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
K. Keys 84 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 31 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 31 1
K. Keys 1 31 1 31
T. Collins 9 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 23 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 23 0
T. Collins 2 23 0 14
M. Stevenson 2 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 21 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 21 0
M. Stevenson 3 21 0 9
G. Fauolo 45 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 8 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 8 1
G. Fauolo 2 8 1 5
L. Thomas 3 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 7 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 7 0
L. Thomas 1 7 0 7
B. Presley 80 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 4 0
B. Presley 1 4 0 4
C. Scherff 88 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 3 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 3 0
C. Scherff 1 3 0 3
D. Tejchman 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
0 0 0
D. Tejchman 0 0 0 0
C. Williams 8 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 0 0
C. Williams 1 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
J. Flowers 7 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
J. Flowers 5-0 0.0 0
B. Laolagi 48 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 1.0
B. Laolagi 2-1 1.0 0
E. Austrie 17 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
E. Austrie 2-0 0.0 0
J. White 16 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
J. White 2-0 0.0 0
T. Roberts 38 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
T. Roberts 2-0 0.0 0
K. Uasike 94 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
K. Uasike 2-0 0.0 0
S. Wily 42 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
S. Wily 1-0 0.0 0
G. McCoy 25 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
G. McCoy 1-2 0.0 0
R. Mann 56 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 1.0
R. Mann 1-1 1.0 0
C. Manoa 99 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
C. Manoa 1-0 0.0 0
F. Hester II 53 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
F. Hester II 0-1 0.0 0
D. Baker 33 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
D. Baker 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
E. Pantels 30 P
IN-GAME FG XP
0/1 3/3
SEASON FG XP
0/1 3/3
E. Pantels 0/1 0 3/3 3
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
H. Hicken 19 K
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
7 40.9 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
7 40.9 1
H. Hicken 7 40.9 1 51
E. Pantels 30 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
1 38.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
1 38.0 0
E. Pantels 1 38.0 0 38
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
B. Presley 80 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 22.7 30 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
3 22.7 30 0
B. Presley 3 22.7 30 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
J. Daniels 18 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
62.9% 282 1 0 140.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
62.9% 282 1 0 140.0
J. Daniels 22/35 282 1 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
A. Ware 28 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
10 100 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
10 100 1
A. Ware 10 100 1 22
S. Carr 7 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
9 54 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
9 54 0
S. Carr 9 54 0 40
V. Malepeai 29 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
8 47 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
8 47 2
V. Malepeai 8 47 2 20
A. St. Brown 8 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 12 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 12 0
A. St. Brown 1 12 0 12
V. Jones Jr. 1 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 10 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
2 10 0
V. Jones Jr. 2 10 0 8
J. Daniels 18 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 -1 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
5 -1 0
J. Daniels 5 -1 0 5
M. Fink 19 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 -2 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
2 -2 0
M. Fink 2 -2 0 1
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
A. St. Brown 8 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
7 98 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
7 98 1
A. St. Brown 7 98 1 43
T. Sidney 13 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 72 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 72 0
T. Sidney 3 72 0 41
T. Vaughns 21 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 37 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
4 37 0
T. Vaughns 4 37 0 13
M. Pittman Jr. 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 36 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 36 0
M. Pittman Jr. 1 36 0 36
V. Jones Jr. 1 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 16 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 16 0
V. Jones Jr. 2 16 0 9
A. Ware 28 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 15 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 15 0
A. Ware 2 15 0 9
V. Malepeai 29 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 6 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 6 0
V. Malepeai 2 6 0 9
E. Krommenhoek 84 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 2 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
1 2 0
E. Krommenhoek 1 2 0 2
Defense T-A SACK INT
J. Houston Jr. 10 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
J. Houston Jr. 3-0 0.0 0
I. Pola-Mao 21 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
I. Pola-Mao 3-2 0.0 0
C. Smith 35 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 1.0
C. Smith 2-1 1.0 0
P. Gustin 45 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 1.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 1.5
P. Gustin 1-1 1.5 0
J. Tufele 78 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
J. Tufele 1-0 1.0 0
B. Pili 91 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.5
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.5
B. Pili 1-1 0.5 0
K. Mauga 26 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
K. Mauga 1-0 0.0 0
M. Tuipulotu 51 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
M. Tuipulotu 1-0 0.0 0
M. Dorton 44 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 1.0
M. Dorton 1-2 1.0 0
A. Harris 27 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
A. Harris 1-0 0.0 0
M. Tell III 7 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
M. Tell III 1-0 0.0 0
O. Griffin 4 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
O. Griffin 1-0 0.0 0
J. Iosefa 56 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
J. Iosefa 1-0 0.0 0
A. St. Brown 8 WR
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
A. St. Brown 1-0 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
C. McGrath 40 K
IN-GAME FG XP
5/5 4/4
SEASON FG XP
5/5 4/4
C. McGrath 5/5 47 4/4 19
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
R. Budrovich 46 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
4 28.8 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
4 28.8 1
R. Budrovich 4 28.8 1 48
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Harris 27 CB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 25.0 25 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 25.0 25 0
A. Harris 1 25.0 25 0
V. Jones Jr. 1 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 16.0 16 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 16.0 16 0
V. Jones Jr. 1 16.0 16 0
S. Carr 7 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 73.0 73 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 73.0 73 0
S. Carr 1 73.0 73 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
T. Vaughns 21 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 27.0 28 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
2 27.0 28 0
T. Vaughns 2 27.0 28 0
A. St. Brown 8 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 9.0 9 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 9.0 9 0
A. St. Brown 1 9.0 9 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 UNLV 25 0:00 1 4 Fumble
14:07 UNLV 25 1:44 3 3 Punt
10:30 UNLV 45 2:12 6 16 Punt
3:18 UNLV 25 0:41 2 75 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:12 UNLV 25 2:40 7 75 TD
9:12 UNLV 30 1:40 4 -5 Punt
5:42 USC 44 2:16 5 24 FG Miss
1:04 UNLV 25 0:51 7 27 Punt
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:57 UNLV 20 2:07 4 30 Punt
6:21 UNLV 18 4:55 10 32 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:47 UNLV 20 0:42 3 1 Punt
12:39 UNLV 25 4:33 10 75 TD
4:39 UNLV 25 1:16 6 18 Downs
1:32 UNLV 21 1:20 5 23
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:52 UNLV 29 0:39 3 1 FG
12:16 USC 40 1:39 3 6 Punt
8:07 USC 20 4:44 10 65 FG
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
2:29 USC 8 2:09 12 81 FG
10:21 UNLV 23 0:58 4 -6 FG
7:21 USC 28 1:29 4 6 Punt
3:21 USC 21 2:17 9 79 TD
0:01 USC 18 0:00 1 -1 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 USC 14 2:40 6 38 Punt
9:43 USC 35 3:11 6 31 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
1:11 USC 31 0:28 4 69 TD
13:58 USC 41 1:19 4 59 TD
8:06 USC 25 3:22 7 57 FG
3:19 UNLV 43 1:41 5 43 TD