On Saturday, September 5, the Trojans of Southern California defeated the San Jose State Spartans 56-3.
Although fourth ranked USC were the heavy favorites, this does not mean that there were not plenty of questions about how they would perform.
The biggest doubts were regarding the Trojan's quarterback, Matt Barkley. Barkley is the first true freshman to start the season at quarterback in USC's history. Many were unsure of how he would play in his first year.
In fact, So Cal did get off to a rough start against the big-time underdogs from San Jose State.
For Pete Carroll's boys, the first four possessions ended in two punts and two lost fumbles.
The only score of the first quarter came when SJS kicker Tyler Cope nailed a 41-yard field goal. The quarter ended with the Spartans ahead 3-0.
After that, SC stole the lead and never looked back.
It started when the Trojans drove down the field early in the second quarter. The series culminated in a four-yard touchdown run by Stafon Johnson. Jordan Congdon tacked on the extra point and putting his team up 7-3.
Stafon Johnson scored just a few minutes later, running it in from two yards out. That drive began when USC recovered a San Jose State fumble. After Congdon hit another extra point, the score was 14-3.
A couple of minutes went by before USC struck again. On the second play of the series, Allen Bradford ran 43 yards for the score. This was followed by another successful point after by Congdon. USC was now leading 21-3.
Less than two minutes, So Cal had the ball once again, and scored on the ground-- again. This time it was Joe McKnight, taking it to the house from 6 yards out. Once again, Congdon kicked the XP, putting Southern California ahead 28-3 going into the locker room.
After the half, Pete Carroll and his team continued to shut down San Jose State.
Just three plays into the third quarter, McKnight lit up the Spartans' defense with an exhilarating 54-yard carry for a score. This exciting, juke-filled play was the top highlight from the game. After Congdon's kick sailed through the uprights, the Trojans held a 35-3 advantage.
Just two minutes later, the Trojans took control of the ball again. Matt Barkley led the march to the end zone, completing 6 passes on all 6 plays in the series, including the four-yard TD pass to Rhett Ellison. After Barkley finally got the first college score of his career.
Congdon, of course, would go on to knock down the following kick, So Cal was up 42-3.
Not much action would proceed in that quarter, as the fourth began with the same score.
But USC would get started quickly once the final quarter started. Now, Aaron Corp was the Trojans' QB. The were swift to advance the ball downfield, all the way to the 1-yard line. Next, Marc Tyler punched in Southern Cal's seventh touchdown.
Jordan Congdon's extra point was good again. It was now 49-3, in favor of the Trojans.
USC scored for the final time with 9:05 remaining. Corp threw a 13 yard pass to D.J. Shoemate for six more points. Congdon successfully added the point after for the eighth and final time.
After that point, the Spartans were held to a meager -14 yards, en rout to a 56-3 Trojans victory.
Southern California outgained SJS 620 to 121 in total yards. The Trojans tallied 278 yards through the air and an outstanding 342 rushing. Meanwhile, the team from San Jose had just 112 passing yards and a mere nine yards rushing.
USC averaged 7.6 yards per carry and 12.1 yards per pass, while San Jose State averaged 0.3 yards on the ground and 3.7 per pass.
For the Trojans, Matt Barkley passed for 233 yards, with Corp getting the other 45.
Joe McKnight had 145 rushing yards, 10.4 ypr, and 2 TDs. Marc Tyler had 72 yards, a 14.4 average, and a score on the ground. Allen Bradford ran for 53 yards and a score on a 13.3 average. C.J. Gable had a 5.3 rushing average, and Stafon Johnson had a 4.5 average a pair of trips to the Spartan end zone.
A few other guys, including Stanley Havili took a few carries. USC definitely showed that they are worthy of the title "Tailback U" with such a fantastic rushing performance.
Damian Williams was the Trojans' leading receiver, with 3 catches, 67 yards, and a 22.3 average. Anthony McCoy was right behind him with 3 grabs and 64 yards on a 21.3 ypc average. David Ausberry had a couple receptions for 37 yards, while averaging 18.5 yards per catch.
Fullback Stanley Havili had 3 catches for 26 yards. D.J. Shoemate caught two passes, one of which was a score. Rhett Ellison also snagged a TD. McKnight had a 21 yard catch, Brice Butler had 11 yards, and Travon Patterson had 3 yards.
All-America senior safety Taylor Mays leads a Trojans' defense that lost a ton of players from 2008, but has reloaded and continues to be unstoppable.
None of the three Spartan quarterbacks who played threw for more than 100 yards. Kyle Reed had the highest yardage total, with 66.
Patrick Perry was the only player to have a decent amount of rushing yards for San Jose State, finishing with 48.
Wide receiver Kevin Jurovich had a pretty good game with 5 receptions for 64 yards.
The most recent USC blowout at the Coliseum gives the Trojans their twelfth-straight season opening victory.
Since Pete Carroll took over USC in 2001, they have become one of the most dominant teams in the country. Since 2002, the Trojans have won at least 11 games every year, have seven Pac-10 titles, and seven BCS Bowl appearances.
From what we saw against San Jose State, Southern Cal looks destined to continue their greatness.
But now they face a new challenge. On September 12, the Trojans will ride their horses to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes, a team that narrowly edged out Navy on the very same day of the USC-SJS game.
Last year, USC destroyed OSU 35-3. But that was in Los Angeles. This time, the Trojans have to battle Ohio State in the Horseshoe.
This was a very telling game for Southern Cal. They have showed that they are loaded at all positions once again, and that they can win with a freshman at the helm. But that is in the past, as all eyes are on the USC-OSU showdown next Saturday.