USC Trojans Game Day Grades – Week 5

Bryan Hernandez
USC Football
USC Trojans Photo Credit: Dinur – Under Creative Commons License

Last week, the USC Trojans played in Tucson against the Arizona Wildcats and nearly collapsed in the fourth quarter but fortunately, the Wildcats late surge couldn’t get them the win.

USC football was on track for an impressive win over a struggling Arizona. However, the script didn’t exactly play out as smoothly as it should have. After leading 24-0, the Trojans gave up 20 unanswered points and let the game come down to an unsuccessful onside kick. Even though USC pulled out the win 24-20, the mood after victory was hardly cheerful.

QB J.T. Daniels

Stats vs Arizona: 16-for-24, 197 yards

Player Notes: Daniels found more balanced in this game as he completed 66 percent of his passes. Daniels did a good job of finding the open receiver rather than forcing passes into coverage. The efficiency of that helped the Trojan offense flow more smoothly.

Unfortunately, Daniels’ mistakes were one of the biggest factors for the offense. Long-ball ability is among his biggest strengths, yet sloppiness with his technique led to long underthrows. Daniels also has a tendency to the bailout of the pocket early when he had the time to let the play develop. His ball security is also a major factor as Daniels took a sack and fumbled in the fourth quarter to set up Arizona’s second touchdown.

Game Day Grade: C+

Draft Stock: Mid-Late Second Round, 2021 NFL Draft

Week 6 Preview: Bye Week

RB Stephan Carr

Stats vs Arizona: 14 carries, 80 yards, 0 touchdowns

Player Notes: Carr had the second most rushing yards in the game, trailing only Aca’Cedric Ware, with 80 total rushing yards. It appears USC isn’t ready to let him off the leash just yet, but he is still finding ways to make his touches worthwhile.

Game Day Grade: C

Draft Stock: Third-Fourth Round, 2020 NFL Draft

Week 6 Preview: Bye Week

OL Chuma Edoga

Player Notes: Edoga suffered hip impingement during the game but Clay Helton thinks he’ll be fine after the bye week. Edoga wasn’t much of a factor in the game.

He had his Jekyll and Hyde moments along with the rest of the offensive line. When Edoga makes a good play, the entire offensive line does well. When Edoga makes a horrible play, the entire offense is making the same bad play.

Game Day Grade: D-

Draft Stock: Seventh Round/Undrafted

Week 6 Preview: Bye Week

DL Christian Rector

Stats vs Arizona: 1 Tackle

Game Notes: Rector deserves major credit as he stepped up when Porter Gustin was pulled because of injury. He slid into the Predator spot and was an active presence late. Seeing as USC’s pass rush has suffered without Gustin on the field this year, that was a positive development. Rector on several instances was a step or two behind Khalil Tate which could have made a significant difference in the game

Game Day Grade: B

Draft Stock: Third/Fourth Round

Week 6 Preview: Bye Week

LB Cameron Smith

Stats vs Arizona: 7 Tackles, 1 Pass Deflected

Game Notes: Another week and another spot atop the tackle charts for Cameron Smith. The senior had seven solo tackles and one pass deflection, showing his quality while still leaving something to be desired. He was active in run defense as you’d expect and he did well to keep Khalil Tate from running on the outside runs.

He made a key pass deflection on fourth-and-17 as the Wildcats pushed for the comeback. He also had a big stop at the goal line, though his reaction time could have been much better on the touchdown Arizona ultimately scored on fourth-and-goal late.

Game Day Grade: B+

Draft Stock: Second Round

Week 6 Preview: Bye Week

CB Iman Marshall

Stats vs Arizona: 3 Tackles

Game Notes: Marshall did account for 3 tackles during the game, but he was hit with flags twice on plays resulting in interceptions. One of those flags took away what would have been Marshall’s game-ending interception. That interception also would have been his first since the 2016 campaign. Marshall now has 19 total tackles which is 6th on the team.

Game Day Grade: B

Draft Stock: Fourth/Fifth Round

Week 6 Preview: Bye Week

S Marvell Tell III

Stats vs Arizona: 4 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Blocked FG, 1 Interception

Game Notes: Tell was the standout of the group. He intercepted a pass, blocked a kick and came up with a tackle for loss. Tell was the leader that this defense needed this game and he came through with big hits and big plays.

Although Tell has been a starter on this USC secondary for the last couple of seasons, his performance has been a tad bit underwhelming. Fans were ecstatic to see him make the game-changing plays he made against Arizona.

Game Day Grade: A

Draft Stock: Second Round

Week 6 Preview: Bye Week