While USC wound up winning the game 49-31, Western Michigan gave it a lot more than it bargained for, as the Broncos led the game 21-14 late in the third quarter, and was tied 28-28 with under eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, that's when USC decided it was time to turn to its rushing attack and put the game away.
Ronald Jones broke off a 37-yard touchdown run to give the Trojans a 35-28 lead, and then after Western Michigan cut the lead to 35-31 with a field goal, Stephen Carr iced it with a 52-yard score. A pick six on Western Michigan's next possession would be the final nail in the Broncos' coffin.
Jones finished the game with 159 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries, while Carr had 69 yards and two scores on seven carries. They helped offset an up-and-down performance from preseason Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Sam Darnold. The sophomore completed 23 of his 33 passes for 289 yards, but didn't throw for any touchdowns (he did rush for one) and had two interceptions. On the whole, the entire USC offense looked disjointed until the fourth quarter.
Of course, when you're USC, and you're beginning the season ranked No. 4 and considered a playoff contender, all that matters is that you get the win instead of a loss that could derail the entire season.
And if you're Western Michigan, you played your heart out, and that check is still going to clear.