Rachaad White ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns, helping Arizona State bounce back from two ugly losses to beat Southern California 31-16 Saturday night.
The Sun Devils (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) relied heavily on their run game to overcome three turnovers and their defense held when it needed to for a much-needed win.
Jayden Daniels was mostly ineffective passing, throwing for 145 yards with two interceptions — both by Xavion Alford — but White made up for it after missing last week’s game with a right leg injury. He is the sixth Arizona State player to run for more than 200 yards in a Pac-10/12 game.
USC (4-5, 3-3) alternated between Kedon Slovis and Jaxson Dart at quarterback — and neither could seem to get into a rhythm.
Dart scored on a 9-yard run, but the Trojans had to settle for three Parker Lewis field goals when they had a chance to build a lead.
Slovis threw for 131 yards on 16-of-28 passing and Dart was 8 of 16 for 89 yards. Both threw interceptions.
The Trojans and Sun Devils have gone through a bit of adversity this season, yet still were in the mix for the Pac-12 South title.
USC coach Clay Helton was fired after two games, the Trojans gave up 40 points in three homes losses and lost star wideout Drake London for the season to a broken ankle last week against Arizona.
The Sun Devils were coming off consecutive lackluster losses, allowing Utah to score the final 28 points and Washington State to score the first 28 last week.
A win over Stanford Friday night put Utah in the pole position for the South, essentially making USC-Arizona State an elimination game.
Arizona State appeared ready to give it away.
The Sun Devils spoiled good drives with turnovers and kept USC’s drives alive with untimely penalties. Their defense was sharp when it needed to be, though, holding USC to 65 first-half yards.
Arizona State’s run game also was good early.
In the first quarter, DeaMonte Trayanum waited behind his blockers for a hole to open, then burst through for a 14-yard touchdown — not long after a fox ran onto the field and briefly delayed the game.
White broke numerous tackles and carried several defenders on a 26-yard catch-and-run, then burst up the right sideline for a 47-yard touchdown run to put Arizona State up 14-10 at halftime.
Both teams sputtered through most of the second half before White raced off on a 50-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. White put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter with a 7-yard TD run.
USC continued its disjointed season with a sputtering offense and by giving up big plays at key times on defense.
Arizona State needed a bounce-back win and got it behind White’s big game.
USC plays at California on Saturday.
Arizona State is at Washington on Saturday.