No. 4 USC holds off W Michigan 49-31 with big 4th quarter

Western Michigan wide receiver Rodney Graves, left, catches a pass as Southern California cornerback Jack Jones defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

By GREG BEACHAM

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES — Ronald Jones II ran 37 yards for the tiebreaking touchdown with 6:57 to play, and No. 4 Southern California rallied from a second-half deficit for a 49-31 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday.

Jones rushed for 159 yards and three scores, while freshman Stephen Carr added 69 yards rushing and two TDs in an auspicious debut for the Trojans, who scored 28 points in the fourth quarter.

Marvell Tell returned an interception 37 yards for a TD with 3:13 to play as USC won its 10th consecutive game despite major trouble from the defending MAC champion Broncos on a brutal 99-degree day at the Coliseum.

Jon Wassink passed for 67 yards, caught a touchdown pass and rushed for another score in coach Tim Lester’s debut for his alma mater. Even after losing coach P.J. Fleck, quarterback Zach Terrell and star receiver Corey Davis, the Broncos’ 15 returning starters came back strong after winning 13 games and reaching the Cotton Bowl during the best season in school history.

Sam Darnold passed for 289 yards and rushed for a score for the Trojans, but failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time during USC’s winning streak, which included his record-setting performance in last season’s Rose Bowl.