PULLMAN, Wash. — Amid a rash of injuries, USC was also without its starting left tackle Toa Lobendahn against Washington State on Friday night.
Lobendahn did not travel with the team, remaining in Los Angeles. The website USCFootball.com first reported that he was out with a staph infection, though he had practiced during the week.
Clayton Johnston, a redshirt sophomore, started in his place, while freshman Austin Jackson also rotated.
During training camp, Johnston saw a bulk of the reps at left tackle with the first-team offense, while Lobendahn also practiced at center.
Lobendahn, a redshirt junior, has been limited because of knee injuries in the past two seasons, twice undergoing season-ending knee surgeries for torn ligaments.
Late in the first quarter on Friday, starting right tackle Chuma Edoga left with an apparent leg injury. As he walked off the field, assisted by trainers, he could not put weight on his left leg.
Right guard Viane Talamaivao was also sidelined during the second quarter with an apparent injury to his left shoulder.
With the three starters sidelined before halftime, the Trojans used Jackson at left tackle, Johnston at right tackle and freshman Andrew Vorhees at right guard to replace Talamaivao.
Junior running back Ronald Jones, who was out in the Trojans’ win at Cal last Saturday because of a thigh contusion and a sprained ankle, returned against the Cougars.
He showed few lingering effects.
Early in the second quarter, Jones ran untouched 86 yards for a touchdown, giving USC a 14-10 lead and eclipsing 100 yards before halftime.
It was also the longest run by a USC running back since LaVale Woods’ school-record 96-yard run in 1996.
The matchup between USC and Washington State has been the Pac-12’s most high-profile contest so far this season, with the teams ranked No. 5 and No. 16 in the Associated Press poll.
The game didn’t kick off, however, until nearly 8 p.m. PT, a very late start for more than half the country.
Asked earlier this month if he would have preferred an earlier time slot, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said, “It wasn’t our choice. It was really our broadcast partners’ choice.”
Scott added that at least eight conference games are selected for either a Thursday or a Friday night by ESPN, FOX or the Pac-12 Networks.
Quarterback Sam Darnold threw his eighth interception of the season in the second quarter when Washington State defensive back Sean Harper Jr. picked off his first career pass.
Darnold threw nine interceptions in 366 pass attempts last season. His eighth interception of this season came 154th attempt.
Outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu entered the game with eight pass breakups, most in the nation.
Nwosu had another one in the second quarter when he tipped a pass by Washington State quarterback Luke Falk. The ball bounced off the Cougars’ right tackle, then intercepted by Nwosu.
USC took over at Washington State’s 10-yard line as a result.
Senior receiver Steven Mitchell missed a second consecutive game because of a groin injury. … Punter Reid Budrovich pinned three punts inside the 20-yard line in the first half, including a long of 63 yards. … Representatives from 15 NFL teams, including New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, were credentialed for the game. … Jake Olson, USC’s blind long snapper, was in attendance, watching on the sidelines in a sweatshirt and sweatpants. Olson, who appeared in a game for the first time in the Trojans’ opener, had said he hoped to make the travel roster.
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