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Heisman winner Caleb Williams throws 5 touchdown passes in No. 6 USC's 66-14 blowout of Nevada

Caleb Williams threw for 319 yards and hit Tahj Washington with two of his five touchdown passes, leading No. 6 Southern California to a 66-14 victory over Nevada on Saturday night.

Zachariah Branch, Michael Jackson III and Brenden Rice also caught TD passes from their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the Trojans (2-0), who followed up their blowout of San Jose State with another rout of a Mountain West opponent at the Coliseum.

USC’s 668 yards were its most under coach Lincoln Riley, and its 66 points matched the highest-scoring game of his tenure.

Williams passed for 258 yards and four TDs on just 15 completions while USC built a 35-7 halftime lead. He finished 18 of 24 while also rushing for 42 yards and adding another array of remarkable escapes and pinpoint completions to his collection.

Stanley Ta’ufo’ou returned a fumble 23 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter for the Trojans. South Carolina transfer MarShawn Lloyd had 76 yards rushing and 59 yards receiving, while touted freshmen Quinten Joyner and Duce Robinson scored their first career touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Brendon Lewis passed for 182 yards for the Wolf Pack (0-1), who scored on their opening drive before giving up 45 consecutive points. Freshman AJ Bianco threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to Jamaal Bell on his first career pass attempt during the fourth quarter for Nevada, which went 2-10 in coach Ken Wilson’s debut last season after four straight winning campaigns under Jay Norvell.

Williams was in control from the opening drive, during which he improvised a stunning 30-yard completion to Dorian Singer while on a dead sprint to the sideline. Two plays later, he threw a perfect 22-yard TD fade to Branch. the freshman phenomenon who scored two touchdowns in the opener.

Nevada answered with a 73-yard catch by Spencer Curtis leading to a TD run by Sean Dollars two plays later. But Lloyd made a 24-yard TD run later in the quarter, and Williams ran 46 yards on a draw with the first snap of the second quarter before putting the Trojans up 28-7 with a 15-yard TD pass to Jackson.

Joyner rushed 47 yards for a TD in the fourth quarter, and Robinson took a pass from Miller Moss 71 yards for the Trojans’ eighth touchdown in the waning minutes.

TACKETT TOSSED

USC freshman inside linebacker Tackett Curtis was ejected for targeting in the second quarter. The Trojans were already playing without injured inside linebackers Mason Cobb and Eric Gentry.

THE TAKEAWAY

Nevada: It’s no fun to start a season with your toughest game of the year, but the Wolf Pack will build on the positive plays in a blowout loss, including a handful of solid drives and an eye-catching debut by Bianco, who passed for 129 yards in garbage time.

USC: The Wolf Pack were the least daunting opponent on the 2023 schedule, and the Trojans made a wealth of big plays. They also gave up another handful of big plays on defense, not doing much to assuage the persistent concerns about that unit’s growth after last season’s struggles.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Trojans have been exactly what most voters already thought they were, so they should stay about where they started.

UP NEXT

Nevada: Host Idaho on Saturday, Sept. 9.

USC: Host Stanford on Saturday, Sept. 9.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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