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USC'S Nelson Agholor makes his mark against Arizona

USC FOOTBALL FYI

With Marqise Lee sidelined, wide receiver Nelson Agholor grabs seven passes for 161 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown pass.

October 10, 2013|By Gary Klein

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USC receiver Nelson Agholor had a breakout performance Thursday night in USC's 38-31victory over Arizona at the Coliseum.

Agholor, a sophomore from Florida, caught seven passes for 161 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown in the first quarter that gave the Trojans a 7-0 lead.

Last season, Agholor played behind Robert Woods and Marqise Lee and caught 19 passes, two for touchdowns.

He entered Thursday's game with 11 catches and was averaging 17.5 yards per reception.

But with Lee sidelined because of a knee injury suffered against Arizona State, Agholor became the main target.

Third-year sophomore Victor Blackwell started opposite Agholor and caught two passes for 23 yards.

Redd plays

Senior tailback Silas Redd made his season debut and rushed for 80 yards in 19 carries.

Redd, the Trojans' leading rusher last season, had been sidelined while recovering from knee surgeries.

Redd replaced Tre Madden for the Trojans' fourth series in the first quarter and rotated with other backs the rest of the game.

Third-year sophomore Javorius Allen impressed, rushing for 37 yards in six carries and scoring his first two career touchdowns.

Freshman Ty Isaac rushed for 36 yards in three carries.

Productive scramble

Quarterback Cody Kessler scrambled for a 34-yard gain in the third quarter to help set up a field goal that gave the Trojans a 31-10 lead.

It was the longest run by a USC quarterback since Carson Palmer gained 54 yards on a run against California in 2001.

Tavai rises

Linebacker Morgan Breslin did not play because of a hip injury, but the Trojans got a play-making performance from defensive lineman J.R. Tavai.

Tavai, a junior who played at Manhattan Beach Mira Costa High, had 10 tackles, including 31/2 for losses.

Tavai and end Leonard Williams each were credited with half a sack.

Linebacker Devon Kennard also had a sack.

New coach

USC finalized the hiring of defensive line assistant Pete Jenkins a few hours before the game, and the veteran coach was on the field.

Jenkins, 72, coached at Louisiana State and other college programs in the South before joining the Philadelphia Eagles' staff in 2006. He retired after the 2009 season.

Jenkins joins linebackers coach Mike Ekeler and coordinator Clancy Pendergast, who coaches defensive backs.

Interim Coach Ed Orgeron called former California coach Jeff Tedford last week to gauge his interest in helping the Trojans. Tedford, who would have assisted on offense, passed.

Quick hits

Tight end Xavier Grimble suffered a shoulder injury and did not play in the second half.... Tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick caught his first pass of the season in the first quarter. The sophomore had two receptions in 2012.... Former All-American receiver Keyshawn Johnson, the No. 1 pick in the 1996 NFL draft, wore a Ronnie Lott jersey as he led the Trojans out of the tunnel and onto the field as an honorary game captain. Marcus Allen, Lott and Anthony Davis served as honorary captains in previous home games USC is 29-8 against Arizona.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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