USC scores three punt return touchdowns against Cal, tying NCAA record

Thearon W. Henderson

Nelson Agholor took two to the house, as the Trojans tied a NCAA record for punt return scores before halftime.

The USC Trojans returned three punts for touchdowns in the first half against California Saturday, tying a NCAA record in the process. Southern Cal return man Nelson Agholor opened the scoring with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown two minutes into the game. In the second quarter, fullback Soma Vainuku blocked a Cole Leininger punt, and Josh Shaw returned it for a second touchdown. Three minutes later, Ahgolor struck again, this time from 93 yards.


The three returns for scores tied a NCAA record for most punt return touchdowns in a game, the eighth time a FBS team returned three punts for scores. The record, first set at the highest level by Wisconsin against Iowa in 1947, was last tied by Oklahoma in 2003 against UCLA.

Ahgolor also became the first Trojan to return two punts for touchdowns since Mike Garrett took two back in one game during his 1965 Heisman Trophy season.

The Trojans' pursuit of a record-breaking fourth punt return touchdown appears to be the only real drama left in Berkeley this afternoon. Southern Cal has built a 41-14 halftime lead over California.

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