SU quarterback Ryan Nassib turned in another impressive performance, completing 30 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for another score. Nassib is now the Orange's career leader with 572 completions, and he ranks second on the school's all-time list with 50 passing touchdowns.
Nassib's performance helped keep the Orange within striking distance of the Trojans until the final period. The score was 21-16 USC heading into the fourth quarter before two Trojan touchdowns in the opening five minutes of the last frame broke the game open.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley threw for 187 yards and tied his own school record with six touchdown passes. He was 23-for-30 and was also intercepted once.
The Trojans scored their first touchdown after a four-play, 55-yard drive that was capped off by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Barkley to Marqise Lee with 12:15 left in the second quarter. Later in the period, Barkley threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods to extend the Trojan lead to 14-0 with 1:15 left.
SU kicker Ross Krautman's 37-yard field goal as time expired in the first half pulled the Orange within14-3 at the break.
A storm that rolled through the area delayed the start of the second half 70 minutes. After the delay, USC scored on its first offensive possession as Barkley connected with Woods again for a four-yard TD to extend the lead to 21-3 at the 10:24 mark of the third.
On the ensuing SU possession, a 31-yard pass from Nassib to Jarrod West brought the Orange into the red zone, and Nassib capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Sales to make the score 21-10.
Safety Shamarko Thomas set up SU's next scoring drive. The senior intercepted one of Barkley's passes at the 50-yard line and Nassib drove the offense down the field in six plays, capped by Prince-Tyson Gulley's eight-yard touchdown run. The Orange went for two, but missed and score stayed 21-16.
In the fourth quarter, a 22-yard strike from Barkley to Xavier Grimble, and a four-yard touchdown from Barkley to Lee pushed USC advantage to 35-16.
Down 19, the Orange clawed to within 35-22 as Nassib connected with Sales again, this time on a 17-yard scoring pass with 7:36 left in the contest. That was as close as SU got. The two sides traded touchdowns late in regulation to produce the 42-29 final.
Sales paced the Orange with eight catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns. It was his third straight 100-yard game dating back to the 2010 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. West added a career-high six receptions for 94 yards.
Woods and Lee teamed up for 21 catches and five touchdowns for the Trojans. Lee finished with 11 catches for 66 yards and three scores. Woods had 10 grabs for 93 yards and two TDs.
Defensive back Ri'Shard Anderson paced the Orange defense with a career-high nine tackles.