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Instant analysis: Caleb Williams shines in USC's 45-17 victory over Fresno State

Williams elevated his Heisman Trophy candidacy with Saturday's performance

Lincoln Riley and the USC Trojans improved to 3-0 with a 45-17 victory over Fresno State at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.

Here's instant analysis from USC's victory:

JAKE HAENER INJURY CHANGED GAME

Jake Heaner Fresno State

Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener was carted off with what appeared to be a serious lower leg injury early in the third quarter with the Bulldogs trailing 21-10. Up to that point Haener had passed for 117 yards and a touchdown and had Fresno State's offense on the move again. 

After Haener went down - and he understandably fumbled on the play - USC outscored Fresno State 24-7.

CALEB WILLIAMS IS A GREAT GAME MANAGER 

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Photo by Jason Goode

Photo by Jason Goode

USC quarterback Caleb Williams is clearly an extension of Lincoln Riley on the field. Fresno State consistently dropped eight defenders into coverage, and Williams did not force anything. He used check-downs, his legs and back-shoulder throws to pick apart the Bulldogs. 

Williams finished 25-of-37 for 284 yards and two touchdown passes. He also ran for two touchdowns. Most importantly, he did not turn the ball over for a third consecutive game. He entered the game clearly in the top three in the Heisman Trophy race, and he only helped himself with Saturday's performance.

FRESNO STATE DARED USC TO RUN

The Bulldogs consistently rushed three and dropped eight, daring USC to run the football. In the second half, the Trojans obliged. 

USC finished with 230 yards rushing, and Austin Jones and Travis Dye both gashed Fresno State. Jones rushed 12 times for 110 yards and a touchdown, while Dye rushed 11 times for 102 yards and a TD. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider they came behind a battered and bruised USC offensive line.

HERE COMES OREGON STATE

Reser Stadium in Corvallis has been a house of horrors for USC over the years, and it's possible ESPN's College GameDay will be there next Saturday for the matchup of two 3-0 teams. 

This is the best Oregon State team in many years, and USC will need to find a way to tighten up its run defense. The Trojans gave up 221 yards on the ground to Stanford, and 164 to Fresno State. They're playing with fire if they allow Oregon State to gash them on the ground.