(photo credit: NBC Los Angeles)
By Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
LOS ANGELES — Many waited for the debut of true freshman quarterback JT Daniels, and the USC Trojans defeated the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels 43-21 at the L.A. Coliseum.
In the first half, Daniels and the Trojans struggled against an inferior team, but managed to regroup and finished with 282 yards, and completed 22 of 35 passes and a touchdown.
“It’s goosebumps, running out there and seeing the whole stadium, all these fans and you run out there with all your teammates,” Daniels said. “It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to run out there and they’re cheering for you. It’s my first time in the Coliseum, it was really magical.”
The Trojans struggled to get inn the end zone and settled for two field goals. The Runnin Rebels took advantage when RB Lexington Thomas sped down the field for a 71-yard rushing touchdown.
At the end of the first half USC lead the Rebels 19-14, thanks to a pair of touchdowns from Vavae Malepeai.
By the fourth quarter, Daniel hooked up with wide receiver Amen Ra St. Brown on a 43-yard touchdown pass, marking their first collegiate touchdowns, with a 26-14 lead. Malepeai added a third touchdown to his day as the Trojans ensured their victory.
“The thing I’m really happy about is that game could’ve gone a different way if we didn’t play clean football,” USC head coach Clay Helton said. “No turnovers, only four penalties for 38 yards. When you’re not getting chemistry, don’t add fuel to the fire. The kids just stayed patient, they didn’t make mistakes, they didn’t make the critical errors. They played nice, sound football and let it come to them.”
The Trojans travel up to Stanford to take on the Cardinal next Saturday afternoon.