The USC Trojans surprised themselves and disappointed fans with a 19-17 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the season opener at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans were a 24-point favorite, and some felt they would beat that spread.
This game raised questions that need to be addressed this week so they can be answered in the Utah Utes game on Sept. 10.
USC dominated Minnesota in the first half but failed to score any points in the second half while giving up a touchdown on a turnover and another to a true freshman QB on an 83-yard drive with a very soft pass defense.
Here are video highlights courtesy of T-Wire showing the positives that USC can build on.
While USC did not play a complete game, similar to most of last season, many of the issues are different. USC had a record-setting day and could only beat Minnesota by two points.
One thing is clear: The Trojans will not beat the Utes if many of these problems are not fixed.
The good news is that Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the same thing after his team’s 27-10 win over FCS opponent Montana State (No. 5 in the FCS preseason poll).
The Utes jumped to a 24-0 lead in the second quarter aided by a blocked punt and interception, but Utah scored only a field goal in the second half.
Complicating the USC situation is the fact that over half of the scholarship players had never taken a college snap before this season, including 70 players on USC’s 112-man roster.
This is an important game for both USC and Utah. It is the first Pac-12 conference game, and a victory will put the winner in a good position to win the Pac-12 South. Both teams have some work to do, and the team that improves the most will win.
Let’s discuss the issues that must be addressed by the Trojans this week.