Caleb Williams threw for five touchdowns, MarShawn Lloyd produced 134 yards of offense and a touchdown, and the USC defense played in the Wolf Pack’s backfield all night on Saturday as the sixth-ranked USC Trojans moved to 2-0 on the season with a 66-14 win over Nevada.

Following the game, head coach Lincoln Riley met with reporters to recap things. Here’s everything he said:

Opening statement

“We’re very disappointed that the Pac-12 didn’t allow Christian Roland-Wallace to play in the first half of the game today. Not one time in the offseason were we informed of a pending suspension. We became aware Thursday afternoon after the majority of the preparation was already done. Upon learning about the suspension, we felt the need to go back and look at it ourselves. We requested video from the incident and that Arizona-Arizona State game last year, and when we looked at it, it was apparent that Christian was not involved in any way that you could even imagine an ejection. We felt that it was an incorrect call. When we brought this to the attention of the conference, they stated it was too late and that the ruling had been made. Whether he played or not is not the most important thing to me, but in my months here with Christian, I’ve seen the kind of person that he is, the kind of teammate that he is. I don’t want this to put him in any bad light, because it shouldn’t, and it’s wrong. So I think it’s very important to make sure that what happened in this matter is understood. Christian has been a very valuable member of our program and continues to be, and we’re going to make sure that his reputation stays intact like it rightfully should.”

On if there was any justification given for why the suspension wasn’t enforced in Week 0

“I think it was an oversight. And, listen, with guys transferring and all that’s going on right now in the world, there’s going to be mistakes made. We’re not perfect, right? I make plenty myself. I just am disappointed that there aren’t mechanisms in place and even if they’re not, that’s when sometimes you just do the right thing. And I think the video was very apparent. I think we’ve seen every angle, every bit we possibly could. If there’s something we’re missing, then I’m wrong. You’ve got a senior here that’s busted his tail — we only get 60 games — now, missing a half of a ballgame for a guy that wants to help his team, for a guy that wants to go play in the NFL, it’s a big deal. Most importantly to me, the reputation of somebody that’s been a class act for us from the beginning. I’m not trying to send a message to anybody. I’m not trying to send some crazy message to this conference. That’s not my goal here. My goal here is to understand that from what I’ve seen this kid did not deserve to sit, and I want to make sure the reputation of him stays intact. That is the No. 1 goal.”

On the game

“I think we made a lot of improvements throughout the week. We really challenged these guys on all parts, challenged ourselves as a staff, and I thought that really showed up. The guys played well. It was great to see a lot of guys get to play — we saw playmakers on all sides. I thought for our young players in particular, you could tell this one wasn’t their first game. The eyes weren’t quite as big at the end and you saw some guys really settle in there and make plays.

“Obviously, Stanley’s fumble return was probably the major highlight of the game. When big people score, football is more fun. So that was awesome. I’m proud of all sides. A few plays here and there that we’re going to want back that we know we have to continue to clean up, but we took a step this week and we’ve got a big one coming up. We’ve gotta continue to take those steps.”

On the linebackers, and any update on ILBs Mason Cobb and Eric Gentry

“Cobb and Gentry, we don’t think they’re long-term. They weren’t ready to go today. That had nothing to do with the opponent. I don’t believe they would have played regardless. They just weren’t ready.

“I thought guys stepped up. Shane Lee stepped up and played well. Raesjon (Davis) stepped up and played well. Tackett (Curtis) was doing some really nice things before the ejection.

“I thought the guys really stepped up and communicated. You saw the run defense was really stout all night. Really, we gave up two fade balls. You don’t discount those. Those can’t happen. We have to get better. Other than that, we played pretty clean football. “

On Caleb Williams’ steadying presence for an offense still rotating pieces

“He’s been pretty steady the first two games. Obviously his mobility shows up at times. It’s been good. I do think the o-line was much steadier today. Offensively, you could point to penalties as a big negative. We had a couple up front, but we played much steadier, communicated better, and had the makings of a good group today. We’re a little more in sync, so positive steps there.”

On Williams’ sideline throw to Dorian Singer

“It was a good play. I was yelling at him to throw it away. Sometimes I’m mad when he doesn’t listen to me. This time I was glad he didn’t listen to me.”

On the next steps for Williams

“Situational ball. For the whole program, that’s been a big emphasis point. It’s Year 2 now, this is not brand new for everybody. We did more situation ball in this camp than any camp I’ve ever been a part of. Putting these guys in situations where it’s not only executing the call but understanding where you’re at on the field, what hash, how this split matters, how much time is on the clock, do they have this many timeouts. All those things factor into the game, and you see our team starting to understand that more. We’ve tried to do that with Caleb, we’ve tried to do that with all these guys. There’s been some real positive signs so far.”

On how he evaluates the first two games

“I just gauge it by our team. Been around these guys a lot now. You’re starting to get a feel for these guys, where they’re at individually, where they’re at collectively, what we can be.

“For us, it’s just a steady climb. We can’t beat anybody until we play them. You’ve just got to continue to climb throughout the year. I do think we took some really positive steps tonight.

“In college football, every week’s its own story. You scrap it, you learn a few things, and then you start over. The matchups are gonna continue to change.

“We know we’ve got a good one coming in here next Saturday night. We need this place rocking next Saturday at 7:30. This will be potentially the last time these schools match up for a long time. There’s a lot of significance to that. Having that one here at home behind a great home crowd is very important.”

On conversations with players who might be lower on the depth chart about using a redshirt year

“We’re all kinda having to get back in that world. COVID took us out of that for a while when everybody had the free year. It’s like you kinda forgot about the four-game redshirt for awhile and now we’re all back into that world.

“We’ll take it on a case-by-case basis, but if guys can help this team now, then we’re gonna lean toward playing them. We’re gonna need a lot of guys. It’s a long journey. It’s a long year. You’re gonna have different lineups. We’re gonna need different people to step up. It’s not gonna be the same people every week. And I think we’ve got a roster full of guys that are hungry to make the most of their opportunities whenever they come.”

On an update for OL Gino Quinones

“Not yet. We’ll have to see. Keeping our fingers crossed.”