USC begins post-Clay Helton era at Washington State

With an interim head coach and reeling from a blowout loss in Week 2, Southern California visits Pullman, Wash., for a Pac-12 showdown with Washington State on Saturday.The Trojans (1-1, 0-1 Pac-12) opened league play with a 42-28 loss at home to Stanford, which was not as close as the final score indicates. USC tacked on two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, well after the outcome was no longer in doubt.The defeat marked the Trojans’ fourth by two touchdowns or more since the beginning of the 2019 season, and resulted in the dismissal of coach Clay Helton on Monday afternoon.Cornerbacks coach Donte Williams was promoted to interim coach in Helton’s place, in the process becoming the first Black head coach in program history.Williams called it a “humble, humble, humble experience,” during his first press conference on Tuesday evening, while also tempering personal expectations.”There’s no I and me,” Williams said. “It’s us and we.”The task of getting last season’s Pac-12 South division winner back on track likely starts with the offense.USC sputtered in each of its first two games, sitting on 13 points through three quarters in the 30-7 season-opening win over San Jose State and the loss to Stanford. Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis finished Week 2 by leading a pair of touchdown drives — including a scoring pass to receiver Drake London, who Helton said on Sunday “tweaked” his back but should be full-go at Washington State — but also gave up a pick-six.In both of their contests, the Trojans failed to generate touchdowns when getting into the red zone, combining for just four in nine trips inside the 20-yard line.