Wilson, BYU beats No. 24 USC 30-27 in overtime
PROVO, Utah (AP) — BYU should be getting accustomed to coming from behind to beat traditional powers.
Dayan Ghanwoloku intercepted a tipped pass in overtime after Jake Oldroyd kicked a 43-yard field to give the Cougars the lead, and BYU held on to beat No. 24 Southern California 30-27 on Saturday — one week after a similar fourth-quarter rally to knock off Tennessee.
Zach Wilson threw for 280 yards and a touchdown while running for another score, Ty’Son Williams had 99 yards rushing, and the Cougars (2-1) capitalized on three crucial turnovers.
“We knew those were going to be there,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “We knew we were going to have some opportunities to make some turnovers.”
The Trojans’ Chase McGrath tied the game 27-all when he connected on a 52-yard field goal with 1:43 left in regulation. But those were the only points they scored over the final 10:44 of regulation and overtime, their offense going stale when they needed it the most.
Kedon Slovis threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans (2-1). But he also was picked off three times, including on the final play of the game, as USC lost its fourth consecutive game in the state of Utah.
After a week in which USC athletic director Lynn Swann stepped down, coach Clay Helton absorbed a loss that will certainly raise the heat on him going into a crucial stretch of schedule. The Trojans play No. 11 Utah on Friday, and then have road games against No. 23 Washington and No. 7 Notre Dame.
“We don’t worry about noise,” Helton said. “We live in Los Angeles, California. There’s a ton of damn noise. It’s every day. What we have to focus on is doing our job, winning the next game.”
Ghanwoloku, a defensive back who moonlights as a running back, scored the first touchdown for BYU on a 1-yard run in the first quarter. But that wound up being merely a footnote after the clutch play he would make on the other side of the ball in overtime.
“I just want to be a playmaker,” Ghanwoloku said. “Offense, defense, special teams — I just go a hundred (percent). It doesn’t matter. Just making plays no matter what.”
The Trojans took the lead early in the fourth quarter, when they stopped Ghanwoloku a yard short of the first down on fourth-and-2 and proceeded to march 92 yards the other way. Michael Pittman Jr. hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass to give USC a 24-17 advantage.
Wilson gave the Cougars the lead back with 5:41 left in regulation when he ran 16 yards for a touchdown. The score was set up by Wilson evading a sack and hitting Gunner Romney for 35 yards.
“He’s a great football player,” Trojan defensive tackle Jay Tufele said of the Cougars’ second-year quarterback, who has been dynamic ever since becoming the starter. “He’s versatile.”
USC: Slovis and the Trojan offense had plenty of issues after dominating Stanford last week. Slovis threw a pair of interceptions in the first quarter, and the Trojans threw a single pass in the third quarter. They netted just a field goal on their final three drives in regulation — the one that sent the game to overtime.
BYU: An inability to finish long drives ended up being a problem for the Cougars for a third straight game. BYU had to rely on key defensive stops late to sneak away with another close victory.
USC will likely fall out of the AP Top 25 when the poll comes out Sunday.
USC has a short week to prepare for Pac-12 South rival Utah.
BYU faces its third Pac-12 opponent in four weeks it hosts Washington next Saturday.
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