USC opened the Lincoln Riley era with an emphatic win over Rice. The offense rolled as quarterback Caleb Williams played a near-flawless game. The defense, after a less-than-ideal start, intercepted four Rice passes and returned three of them for scores.

With a couple of Pac-12 teams ahead of them losing, the Trojans jumped up into the top 10 of not only the new AP Top 25, but also ESPN’s college football power rankings. (They’re No. 1 in our Pac-12 Power Rankings as well.) The Trojans checked in at No. 9, with Paolo Uggetti writing this on the Trojans:

New head coach Lincoln Riley couldn’t have drawn it up any better if he tried. After a long offseason that included a roster overhaul of over 40 new players, USC took to the field and scored the most points it had in a game since 2008, picking off Rice’s quarterbacks not once, not twice, not three times, but four times, including three pick-sixes. The 66-14 final will look good on the brand-new résumé even though Rice is likely the easiest matchup the Trojans will face this season. Still, the fact that Riley and Caleb Williams seemed to pick up right where they left off on offense while the defense, which still has many questions, was able to step up in such a fashion bodes well for USC. It also likely raises expectations for the Trojans even more. 

The 10th-ranked Trojans (1-0) face Stanford (1-0) on Saturday in a primetime showcase of two of the top offenses in the Pac-12. Stanford began its season with a 41-10 win over Colgate. Quarterback Tanner McKee put up over 300 yards of offense with two passing scores.

Between the two of them, USC and Stanford combined for over 100 points and 1,035 total yards.

After USC’s win, Riley acknowledged they need to treat the opener as what it was — a starting point.

“It’s a great start,” he said. “It’s not anything more than that, not anything less than that. So we’re thrilled with the win, thrilled with the way our guys played. Obviously a lot of growing to do as we get started in conference (play) on the road next week.”

Kickoff between the Trojans and Cardinal is set for 4:30 p.m. PT on ABC.