Kedon Slovis and Trojan defense key to USC’s 41-14 win over Arizona
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Kenan Christon only got in the game because the first three tailbacks on Southern California's depth chart were all hurt and the fourth-stringer had just fumbled.
With the eye-popping speed that made him California's 100-meter high school champion last May, the freshman scored two blazing touchdowns to clinch a blowout win over Arizona.
Although the Trojans are barely outrunning their injury woes, they've still got talent that can burn. They're also still leading the Pac-12 South after a 41-14 victory over the Wildcats on Saturday night.
Christon rushed for 88 of his 103 yards in the fourth quarter of an electrifying debut for the Trojans (4-3, 3-1 Pac-12).
The San Diego native flew past the Arizona secondary on a 55-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter, and he added a 30-yard TD sprint down the middle less than five minutes later.
Kedon Slovis threw touchdown passes to Michael Pittman Jr. and Tyler Vaughns as USC remained unbeaten at the Coliseum this season and atop the division alongside Utah, which lost to USC last month.
Although Christon provided the fireworks, USC beat Arizona for the seventh straight time mostly because of a dominant defensive performance against Khalil Tate and the Wildcats (4-3, 2-2), holding them to 167 yards and no points in the first three quarters.
"I believe our defense is all together, so when one makes a play, everybody makes a play," said USC linebacker Kana'i Mauga, who had 13 tackles and an interception in a breakthrough performance. "Everybody was hype on the sideline. It was a great atmosphere."
Tate passed for 47 yards and was sacked six times before touted freshman Grant Gunnell replaced him in the third quarter for the Wildcats, who have lost two straight after a four-game winning streak.
USC led 34-0 before Brian Casteel took a short pass from Gunnell 56 yards for Arizona's first points with 12:12 to play.
Gunnell passed for 196 yards and hit Casteel for two touchdowns long after the game was decided.
"We couldn't protect tonight," Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said. "They got pressure on us even without blitzing. We've got to be able to run the ball more effectively. We weren't consistent enough."
0 for LA
Tate missed his final chance to beat USC during his career with the Wildcats out of nearby Serra High, a hotbed for Trojans talent. The Inglewood native made his first career start against USC as a 17-year-old freshman, but failed in four opportunities for a win over his hometown program.
Arizona: Another trip to California to face struggling Stanford on Saturday.