The USC Trojans were ready for some home-cooking after last week's "no show" in Seattle. The Men of Troy also welcomed back Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley and Senior safety Taylor Mays.
Although the score may not indicate it, USC did have command throughout the entire game.
Total yards were: USC 403 and Wazzu 229 (Many of which were against back-ups). Give the Cougs credit though, they played hard throughout and are much improved.
Barkley came out right away and fired down field on the Cougar's weak secondary, connecting on two long touchdowns which opened up the game early.
The defense played very well most of the game, although they did allow the Washington State to stay on the field for far too long.
The offense did open up the playbook more... in the first half that is. Play-caller Jeremy Bates allowed for Barkley to throw down-field and really open the field up vertically. Nevertheless, the Trojans offense was stalled on several occasions because of penalties.
I don't care if aggressiveness is their excuse, 13 penalties for over 100 yards is ridiculous and shows a lack of discipline. I expected much more from a team who was embarrassed the previous week.
Carroll was very annoyed during the game because of the penalties and was even seen chewing out Damian Williams after a holding penalty was called on him down-field.
In addition, the special teams for SC was equally bad and several penalties were also called on them.
Moving on to the second half, USC came out and again struggled with penalties and lack of execution. The play-calling went from open to conservative and Bates looked like he was back in Seattle struggling to find plays that worked.
Two separate times USC had the ball inside the 5 yard line and they came away empty. The final time was unforgivable in my opinion; 3rd and goal on the 3 yard line and Bates calls a sweep with C.J. Gable (I'm glad Gable was in, at least). He gets stuffed at the 1 yard line.
So, one would think that with USC's great offensive line they would pound the ball in and score an easy touchdown. Wrong, Bates calls another sweep play to the other side of the field and was dropped for a 2 yard loss. To me, this is play-calling that just does not make sense.
The offensive line is much better than WSU's defensive line and early in the game McKnight scored on a dive play without even being touched, I just do not understand the call.
Again, USC dominated this game and could have and should have won 45-6, but they need to clean it up big time if they want to win their next few games.
Next week's game against Cal should be very interesting but the Bears may have a chip on their shoulder after today's blowout loss to Oregon. Cal's defense will get killed at the next film session and I expect them to step it up against the Trojans.
Defensively, USC should be okay against Cal, but USC's offense had better get some momentum going in practice this week or it could be a long season!
Side note: USC better find a solution at the kicker position as well because Jordan Congdon is not it. He has missed two field goals around 42 yards, short! That is a chip shot for most kickers and if the game comes down to the end I don't think Congdon has earned much respect.
Lastly, Aaron Corp played in four plays tonight and lost a fumble on the third play. Can we please see Mitch Mustain, Pete?
Quarterbacks like Barkley walk around with a swagger and the attitude that they can do anything, Corp doesn't have any of the above.