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USC racks up the rushing yards early, but loses steam late in first half against Washington State

September 22, 2018

LOS ANGELES – USC reignited its long-lost run game on the first drive of Friday’s game against Washington State, driving three-quarters of the field on five rushing plays to take an early lead against the Cougars at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Stephen Carr broke away for a long 50-yarder and Vavae Malepeai capped the drive with a strong 3-yard touchdown. Then, quickly as it arrived, the Trojans’ run game disappeared into the smoggy LA air.

USC went two full drives without putting the ball back in Carr’s hands and called just nine more designed run plays the remainder of the half. After piling up 75 rushing yards on the first drive, the Trojans finished the half with 48 net rushing yards – the result of two sacks on J.T. Daniels and multiple botched snaps. Carr finished the half with just one more rushing attempt – a 3-yarder in the second quarter.

The botched snaps were as costly as the sacks. The first one lost five yards, forcing the Trojans to punt midway in the second quarter. Daniels recovered the second in time to get a throw off, but his attempt was incomplete. The third one squirted past the USC quarterback and Carr recovered it 17 yards behind the line of scrimmage. That drive also ended with the Trojans punting it away.

The Trojans had one of their worst rushing performances in program history the week prior against Texas, finishing with -5 yards on the ground in a 37-14 loss to the Longhorns.

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