Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

  • Linebacker Raymond Scott #18 of the USC Trojans reacts with teammates after recovering a Washington State Cougars fumble as head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans celebrates in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown #8 of the USC Trojans catches a pass in the end zone for a touch down over defensive back Derrick Langford #2 of the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

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  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans passes against the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown #8 of the USC Trojans catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown down against Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Cornerback Olaijah Griffin #2 of the USC Trojans reacts after intercepting a pass against the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown #8 of the USC Trojans runs for a first down against the Washington State Cougars in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Linebacker Raymond Scott #18 of the USC Trojans reacts with teammates after recovering a Washington State Cougars fumble as head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans celebrates in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans recovers his own fumble against the Washington State Cougars in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown #8 of the USC Trojans catches a pass for a touchdown against defensive back Derrick Langford #2 of the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Running back Kenan Christon #23 of the USC Trojans runs fora first down past defensive end Brennan Jackson #80 of the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Safety Talanoa Hufanga #15 of the USC Trojans sacks quarterback Gunner Cruz #15 of the Washington State Cougars in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Running back Kenan Christon #23 of the USC Trojans runs fora first down past defensive end Brennan Jackson #80 of the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Safety Max Williams #4 of the USC Trojans tackles wide receiver Renard Bell #9 of the Washington State Cougars in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans passes against the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown #8 of the USC Trojans catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown down against Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown #8 of the USC Trojans reacts after catching a pass in the end zone for a touchdown down against Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    USC Trojans takes on the Washington State Cougars during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Safety Talanoa Hufanga #15 of the USC Trojans reacts after an interception against the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Quarterback Matt Fink #19 of the USC Trojans passes against the Washington State Cougars in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans reacts against the Washington State Cougars in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Cornerback Olaijah Griffin #2 of the USC Trojans intercepts a pass against the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Quarterback Jayden de Laura #4 of the Washington State Cougars scrambles against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Wide receiver Drake London #15 of the USC Trojans reacts after a touchdown against Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Cornerback Olaijah Griffin #2 of the USC Trojans reacts with teammate running back Vavae Malepeai #29 of the USC Trojans after intercepting a pass against the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Safety Talanoa Hufanga #15 of the USC Trojans leaps over quarterback Jayden de Laura #4 of the Washington State Cougars after intercepting a pass in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans looks on against the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Quarterback Jayden de Laura #4 of the Washington State Cougars passes against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans passes against the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Running back Deon McIntosh #3 of the Washington State Cougars runs for yardage against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Quarterback Jayden de Laura #4 of the Washington State Cougars passes against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans looks on against the Washington State Cougars in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown’s historic first quarter leads USC to rout over Washington State

    Wide receiver Travell Harris #1 of the Washington State Cougars catches a pass for first down against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 6, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

LOS ANGELES — Amon-Ra St. Brown gave a shrug in the end zone, and really, what other reaction would make sense? The USC receiver had just scored his third touchdown of the first quarter, his third touchdown in as many offensive drives for the Trojans.

This one came on a shovel pass in jet motion, with there being no doubt St. Brown would win the footrace to the edge. It wasn’t even the most impressive play thus far for St. Brown, who had caught his second score over a defender while falling backward.

The thing was, St. Brown wasn’t finished after his mocking shrug, and neither were the 16th-ranked Trojans, who ran away with a 38-13 win over Washington State on Sunday in the empty Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

On the very next drive, after USC (4-0) grabbed its second interception in two defensive snaps, St. Brown made another falling catch in the end zone for his fourth touchdown and a 28-0 first-quarter lead. It tied the USC single-game touchdown reception record held by Robert Woods since 2012, and tied the NCAA record for touchdowns in a single quarter.

St. Brown, who had not caught a touchdown pass this season entering the game, wasn’t the only Trojan tying history.

Quarterback Kedon Slovis threw for five first-half touchdowns, setting his career high for a single game while tying the USC program record for a single half. By the time the Trojans went to the locker room, Slovis had completed 17 of 18 attempts for 209 yards.

He finished the game 25 for 32 for 287 yards and the five scores. Slovis briefly exited in the third quarter with an apparent non-throwing arm injury before returning for one final drive.

Really, the only demerit against the USC offense in the first half was its 12 rushing yards. The Trojans finished the game with just 5 rushing yards, partly due to the 20 yards lost on sacks of Slovis.

The USC defense never allowed Washington State (1-2) to believe it had a chance to come back. The Cougars initially moved the ball on the opening drive as the Trojans struggled to tackle in space. But a fourth-down incompletion ended the threat.

The Cougars wouldn’t score until the waning seconds of the first half. USC tightened up its tackling and put pressure on freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura without losing containment.

Washington State went three-and-out on its next drive, then de Laura threw a pass over the middle that USC safety Talanoa Hufanga tipped to himself for an interception, hurdling over a would-be tackler on his return to the WSU 4.

The very next defensive snap, cornerback Olaijah Griffin grabbed his first career interception.

Even down starting linebackers Palaie Gaoteote IV (concussion) and Ralen Goforth (foot), the Trojans were suffocating. Defensive lineman Nick Figueroa picked up back-to-back sacks in the second quarter. Nickel corner Max Williams made plays in space. Safety Chase Williams jumped on a fumble from a sloppy Washington State handoff in the third quarter

The win put the stakes of USC’s regular-season finale against UCLA into a finer context. Win at the Rose Bowl, and the Trojans will likely clinch the Pac-12 South title and a spot in the conference championship game.

Even if both USC and Colorado are undefeated after next weekend, USC would hold the tiebreaker by virtue of having the higher ranking from the College Football Playoff committee.

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