USC football moves inside Top 5 of ESPN's latest college football power rankings – 247Sports

USC football might’ve had limited movement in the college football Top 25 polls, but it made a notable jump in the latest ESPN power rankings on Sunday, moving into the Top 5 at No. 4, up two spots from last week. The Trojans were moved ahead of No. 5 Michigan and No. 6 Oklahoma
For the third straight game in the Lincoln Riley era, USC scored over 40 points and cruised to a double-digit victory, taking down Fresno State by a score of 45-17. Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison connected for a touchdown for the fifth time this season, while Williams added multiple rushing touchdowns, as well, to become the first USC player in the past 25 years to score multiple passing and rushing touchdowns. The USC defense had its usual moments of lapses and weak spots but continued its havoc by forcing a fumble and an interception off quarterback Jake Haener, who exited the game with a lower leg injury. USC’s Travis Dye was the player of the game as he rumbled his way to 138 all-purpose yards and a rushing touchdown, but Austin Jones followed his lead and gave USC two 100-yard rushers on the night. 
The Trojans are coming off a solid 45-17 win over Fresno State, backed by a big night on the ground from running backs Austin Jones and Travis Dye, who both rushed for more than 100 yards. QB Caleb Williams also rushed for two scores on the ground in addition to two passing scores. 
“Great win against a good football team. Very physical game on both sides, very competitive plays on both sides. Certainly, a different challenge than we’ve faced. We said that all week with our team that we’re going to get tested and we’re going to be faced with some situations in this game that we haven’t been in yet as a team, and it was good to see us really respond,” said head coach Lincoln Riley. “I’m really proud of the way we played in the second half. That was a very big point of emphasis throughout the week — especially coming off of the Stanford game — of putting together a more complete game, and I thought we did that very well. I just told the team that probably my favorite play of the game or sequence of the game was the goal-line stop there at the end. That’s what we’re about. No matter who thinks, ‘The game is over, this doesn’t matter,” it all matters to us, and if you’re going to be a champion, it’s got to all matter. And so, for our guys to get that stop right there at the end, to close the game was as meaningful as anything that happened tonight. Proud of our guys. Great win. Obviously gotta get back on it; we’ve got an important one coming up.”
USC (3-0) will head on the road to face off against undefeated Oregon State (3-0) this Saturday. 
The football program is well on its way to bouncing back from last season’s 4-8 record in 2022 after hiring Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma. Riley, who replaced longtime Sooners head coach Bob Stoops, came to USC with a 55-10 coaching record after five seasons at the helm of Oklahoma. He guided the Sooners to four Big 12 conference championships in first four seasons and three College Football Playoff appearances (0-3), most recently in 2019-20. Riley was the youngest head coach in FBS when the Sooners hired him at 33.
Riley has not tampered down the expectations for the Trojans in Year 1. 
“Not my place to say whether they’re fair or not. Like I said in my opening press conference, before even one of these players had come in, I mean, you don’t come to USC and you don’t come to Los Angeles to do things small. You got to set your sights big. I don’t think it’s too much. I don’t. I believe in what we’re doing. I believe in what we’re teaching. I believe in the people that we have in there,” said Riley at Pac-12 Media Day. “Obviously, it’s going to continue to evolve through years. I didn’t come here for one season. I didn’t come here to do this in a short-term. In some respects, you keep the long game in mind. The people we brought in here, the staff we brought in here, we didn’t come here to play for second. We are not wired that way. We came here competitively to win championships, win them now and to win them for a long time. That will always be our expectation.”
USC’s roster saw 54 departures from the 2021 team, but has been overhauled it since the arrival of Riley, thanks to signing the No. 1 transfer class in the nation, which included the Oklahoma five-star QB transfer Caleb Williams, Virginia offensive tackle Bobby Haskins, Pittsburgh wide receiver Jordan Addison, Wyoming defensive lineman Solomon Byrd, Oklahoma receiver Mario Williams, All-Pac-12 Oregon running back transfer Travis Dye, Alabama linebacker Shane Lee and Auburn edge rusher Romello Height. 
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