LOS ANGELES (AP) Southern California shrugged off its dismal September with a stellar freshman quarterback and a revived defense.
''When adversity hits, it reveals your character,'' USC coach Clay Helton said. ''The character of this team is something I'm very excited about.''
USC racked up 34 consecutive points to take a 41-6 lead during the middle two quarters, and Smith-Schuster scored on catches of 5, 3 and 67 yards.
''This is where the new season starts,'' Davis said. ''Whatever happened in the past is the past. We still have one of the best teams, and I'm glad we could show what we can do tonight.''
Arizona State lost starting quarterback
After averaging 48.8 points in their first four games, the Sun Devils didn't reach the end zone against USC's inspired defense until
''I'm proud of our team for finishing hard, but we can't put ourselves in that situation,'' White said.
Darnold was confident and exciting in front of the Trojans' home fans, rushing for a 3-yard score while going 23 for 33 with no interceptions. A week after replacing
USC extended its lead to 34-6 when Smith-Schuster caught a short pass and crisscrossed the field while going to the end zone untouched early in the third quarter.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils came crashing back to reality with this embarrassment, and Wilkins' long-term health could be an even bigger problem. They struggled to move the ball with either quarterback, and the defense was thoroughly overmatched - not for the first time this season, either. Arizona State has work to do.
USC: Just in time, the Trojans put together a comprehensively strong performance against a quality opponent. Their talent repeatedly shone through, and Darnold injected confidence and fun into a sometimes tentative team. USC still must scrap to get back in the Pac-12 race while keeping Helton's job safe, but the Trojans are in position make a run with three of their next four games at home.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils return to Tempe to host UCLA. They beat the Bruins in Pasadena last year.
USC: The Trojans stay home to face surprising Colorado, which jumped to 4-1 with a blowout win over Oregon State. The Buffaloes are 2-0 in Pac-12 play after losing 40 of their first 45 league games.
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org