Heisman winner Caleb Williams leads No. 6 USC past San Jose State, 56-28

Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans walks off the field after the 56-28 win against the San Jose State Spartans at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 26, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/G

Caleb Williams passed for 278 yards and four touchdowns in his return from his Heisman Trophy season, and freshman Zachariah Branch made an electrifying debut with a 96-yard kickoff return and a 25-yard reception for touchdowns in No. 6 Southern California’s 56-28 victory over San Jose State on Saturday night.

Dorian Singer, Tahj Washington and Brenden Rice also caught TD passes and Austin Jones rushed for two more scores as USC opened its second season under Lincoln Riley with another impressive offensive performance that easily covered the Trojans’ persistent defensive flaws.

Williams won USC’s eighth Heisman last season, and he looked typically smooth and elusive as he began what’s likely to be his final collegiate season by leading six TD drives in eight series. Williams was 18 of 25 without an interception.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Reggie Bush files defamation lawsuit against NCAA

Branch was an immediate phenomenon in his first game out of Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School, making four catches for 58 yards — none better than his athletic catch-and-run for a score on a drive set up by his 35-yard punt return. Branch then broke it open with his kickoff return down the Spartans’ sideline in the third quarter, dodging tackles all the way home.

San Jose State’s Nick Nash caught three touchdown passes from Chevan Cordeiro, who passed for 198 yards and rushed for 52 more.