Before we jump on the airwaves and fully break down and analyze the game, The Coach and The Don give their instant analysis and reaction to the Trojan dominant win over the Arizona Wildcats.
What a game by the USC Trojans as they trounce the Arizona Wildcats at home. A couple immediate reactions that I have.
First, the defense looked very solid. Arizona’s offense is not an elite threat, but they are no slouch either. With nearly seven starters out, the Trojan defense held the Wildcats scoreless through three quarters. Khalil Tate could get nothing going, was eventually replaced, and the rushing game was non-factor for most of the game. Credit MIKE linebacker John Houston Jr. who was all over the place and finished with eight total tackles and a sack and a half.
Second, on the Bleav In LA Football Podcast, The Coach and I have talked about how USC may have rekindled a “Thunder and Lightning” rushing attacking with Markese Stepp and Stephen Carr. Well, after this game, it appears that we were half right. Stepp certainly looks like a very viable “Thunder” as he rumbled for 66 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown, but the “Lightning” may actually be freshman running back Kenan Christon. A former track star, Christon certainly looked the part as he exploded for 103 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. Now, it’s only been one game, but this is supposed to be an immediate reaction, and after one game of tape, me likey.
Third, and finally, it’s disrespectful how little attention Michael Pittman Jr. receives nationwide. Just another casual Saturday as Pittman finished with 69 yards and a touchdown, but he just looks so fluid and smooth doing it. One play stands out in particular. It was a deep route that was severely under-thrown by Slovis, Pittman came back to the ball, and like Jack and the Beanstock, effortlessly climbed the ladder to complete the catch. A receiver that makes big plays, is a team leader, has high integrity, and makes your quarterback look good, will be highly coveted on Sundays. Expect his draft stock continue to climb.
Great win by the Trojans and a solid performance from Clay Helton. I don’t know if anything can save his job at this point, but at least his guys are playing for him and having fun out there.
USC put on a show and I was lucky enough to see it up close and personal. Sitting among the Trojan faithful inside LA Memorial Coliseum during homecoming was a thrill. The game being played on the field is why everyone was there and USC did not disappoint. While the offense got off to a slow start, they would eventually impose their will agaisnt the visiting Wildcats of Arizona.
The offense stayed balanced and the ball was spread around nicely. Kedon Slovis did a really nice job of making smart decisions and not forcing plays that weren’t there. One of the biggest things I noticed was that this team is united and they fight for one another. USC has such a rich history and proud tradition, and this team is striving to get back to the glory days. It was refreshing to see that. Even when guys went down and had to come off, the next man up was ready to go in without any hesitation.
While the present state of the USC football program may not be at the level we would all love to see, it won’t take much to get there. I am a firm believer that a coaching change is probably going to happen sooner rather than later. The rushing attack on the offense was led by a couple of freshmen but the defense had a young and hungry player step up as well.
Kana’i Mauga was all over the field. He forced a fumble, intercepted a pass, and totaled 13 tackles while also recording a sack. He did get a flag thrown for an unsportsmanlike after tossing the ball into the air following his pick. While that was an immature error in judgement, the kid played with passion and grit all night. Those types of players are what will take the program to the elite level. Oh, and he is only a sophomore.