No. 4 USC survives Texas in 2 OTs

No. 4 USC survives Texas in 2 OTs

LOS ANGELES USC and Texas have a flair for the dramatics.

After dismantling Stanford, USC is one of the hottest teams in the country and wants to stay that way, not only for their national playoff hopes but to keep quarterback Sam Darnold in the Heisman Trophy hunt.

Fourth-ranked USC and Texas will meet Saturday for the first time since their epic clash at the 2006 Rose Bowl, with the host Trojans looking for their 12th straight victory dating to last season.

This tie game didn't last long, though, as the Trojans took over and hit a second quarter-ending touchdown pass.

Darnold and Ehlinger embraced briefly after the game, with Darnold giving words of encouragement and slapping the freshman on the helmet. After Sam Ehlinger led a monumental 14-play drive 91 yards for a go-ahead touchdown, Texas kicked the ball back to USC with just 45 seconds to play. But after Darnold drove the Trojans 52 yards in about 30 seconds, McGrath tied it with his first career field goal.

Tightly contested and wholly entertaining, this game - at least offensively - featured an array of forgettable misplays and regrettable decisions.

This allowed the Trojans to win the game on a field goal and come away with a 27-24 victory.

The pressure Texas applied Darnold showed early. USC couldn't defend the 6-foot-6 Californian consistently. Their first three trips into the red zone produced just a single score. They gave it all they had.

With the exception of a Texas field goal in the third quarter, all the regulation scoring came in the final three minutes of each half.

Texas then answered with a score of its own.

USC failed to get into the endzone, but a 43-yard field goal was all the Trojans needed to escape the Longhorns, who now sit at 1-2 on the season. With 19 seconds left, DeShon Elliott intercepted a deflected pass off Darnold and returned it 38 yards for a Texas touchdown.

Jones was aided by several blocks, none more graphic than Steven Mitchell Jr.'s absolute crushing of Longhorns safety John Bonney. When Helton unexpectedly got the chance to lead the Trojans two years ago, the longtime assistant swiftly brought maturity and continuity to the talent-laden program, and wins have followed.

Of course, things don't always go the way they're supposed to go in this sport, right?

It turned out to be better than most of us imagined.

San Jose State (1-2) at Utah (2-0): Quarterback Tyler Huntley and receiver Darren Carrington have flourished in Utah's new spread offense, but the scheme has room for improvement before Pac-12 play begins at Arizona on September 22. USC's continued strong play has also bolstered its position on the national championship odds, where it trails only Alabama as a +600 bet to claim its first national title since 2004.

USC: The Trojans' road opener is at California on Saturday.

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