Trojans Defeat The Spartans: Reactions And Recap

Justin Urgo
The Coliseum On Game Day. Photo Credit: Ahmad Akkaoui | LAFB Network
The Coliseum On Game Day. Photo Credit: Ahmad Akkaoui | LAFB Network

In a game that featured two offenses who aren’t afraid to spread the field and throw the ball it was relatively low scoring. The strengths of these two teams are their high octane offenses but it was the defense that proved true.

Trojans Defeat The Spartans: Reactions And Recap

USC defeats SJSU 30-7 in a game that was much much closer than the score suggests.

For the first 30 minutes of this game, USC scored a whopping 13 points. You can attribute that to the first week jitters or shaking of the rust etc. But the reality of it is San Jose state played as well as they could’ve against the better USC team.

Both teams struggled to find a rhythm and capitalize in the red zone. San Jose and Southern California both had over 370 yards in total offense. However, both teams were abysmal on 3rd down.

Offensive Struggles

Clay Helton and the Trojans are known for starting games slow and slowly gaining momentum. Saturday was no different.

In the first quarter, USC drove the length of the field but would only muster a Parker Lewis field goal. San Jose stopped the Trojans in a goal-to-go situation.

It looks like Graham Harrell is making an effort to run the ball a lot more considering this offense is an “Air Raid” scheme. He seems to be focused on making this offense more balanced and not allowing teams to gameplan only for the pass.

Speaking of the run game, it looks like the lead back this year is Texas transfer, Keaontay Ingram. Sure the running back room had some injuries, but, it looks like Malepeai was the change of pace back while Ingram looked more polished with his carries. They’d both have the same amount of carries but something tells me they’re going to roll with the Texas product.

The next offensive drive Kedon Slovis finds Memphis transfer Tahj Washington for an impressive 29 yard TD pass.

However, that was the biggest play the Trojans would have the rest of the first half. Parker lewis would eventually hit another field goal to extend the lead to 13 going into halftime.

In the third quarter, the Trojans couldn’t find the end zone or get in range for a FG. I’d be crazy not to mention the #1 receiver Drake London having a tremendous game. He would haul in 13 receptions for 144 yards for the first game back.

So even though the Trojans couldn’t cap off their drives with scores, it’s definitely a good sign to see Kedon and Drake clicking this early in the season.

The fourth quarter would look a lot like the first two, moving the ball at times and eventually punting. Lewis would boot another through and towards the end of the game, Erik Krommenhoek, who had a fumble earlier in the game, would find the endzone.

If USC plans to be a contender for more than just the Pac 12 Championship they’re going to have to find another playmaker not named Drake London. 

Trojans Defense Looks Elite

As you can already tell the Spartans only managed to score once the entire game.

Todd Orlando made a statement the entire game dropping the linebackers, most, if not every play. It’s no question the name of the game for San Jose is the quick pass game.

The offense that looked unstoppable last week couldn’t get anything going to start the game.

Nick Starkel looked to throw an easy screen pass early in the first quarter but Drake Jackson had other plans. The soon-to-be NFL player and one of the Pac 12’s best defensive players picked off Starkel. That is a very scary sight for opposing teams when someone, who not only gets to the quarterback, can find the ball in the air as well.

My hidden gem for this game was freshman safety Calen Bullock who started for the injured Senior Isaiah Pola-MaoIt seemed like every big-time tackle or play needing to be made Bullock was the guy. He ended the game with seven total tackles and may have put the coaches on notice.

Another bright spot in the secondary was homegrown senior Greg Johnson who had a 37-yard pick-six early in the 4th quarter. Chase Williams also had a good game totaling six tackles and covering one of the better tight ends in Derrick Deese Jr. 

Moving on to the pass rush, no sacks were recorded this game but the pressure was there no doubt. Starkel was hurried most of the game and it messed with the timing of certain routes.

USC fans were excited to see 5-star freshman Korey Foreman and Drake Jackson on the same defensive line. Although neither got a sack you can tell once they get more comfortable and find weak spots, sacks will not be hard to find with this defense.

If the Trojans can play with this tempo and be as aggressive as they were today against tougher opponents, I have no doubt they’ll stay in games. Like former UCLA Bruin coach, Bob Toledo said “There’s no such thing as an ugly win.”