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Top wide receivers on display as No. 16 USC leads ASU 17-15 at halftime

Two of the nation’s top wide receivers are on the field when the No. 16 USC Trojans host the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong won the individual battle against USC’s Nelson Agholor through two quarters, yet it’s Agholor’s Trojans who hold a 17-15 lead.

Strong was nearly a one-man show for the Sun Devils in the first half. The talented junior wide receiver caught five passes for 102 yards and both Arizona State touchdowns. The rest of the offense managed 77 yards.

It’s an impressive effort from the wide receiver considering USC claims the nation’s 10th-best passing defense. Prior to Saturday, the Trojans only allowed 155.5 yards per game through the air.

Agholor, meanwhile, will be content with a solid first-half effort and the lead. The fellow junior also caught five passes and finished with 56 yards. But, the wide receiver’s primary damage came on special teams. Agholor struck first with a 53-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Otherwise, USC’s offense was far more balanced than Arizona State’s. The Trojans accumulated 242 yards. The team’s second touchdown came courtesy of a one-yard plunge from running back Javorius Allen.

As both teams approach the second half, Arizona State needs to remain aggressive on defense and find ways to diversify its offense. The Sun Devils should also attempt to establish a ground game after gaining only 10 yards on 15 carries. USC will have to identify exactly where Strong is at all times, while continuing to the spread the ball around on offense.