As you must know, the USC Trojans got completely dismantled by Stanford 42-28, and there were a lot of storylines throughout the game — pretty much from kickoff.
USC kicker Parker Lewis ejected for targeting, penalty issues in USC’s secondary, and USC’s inability to move the chains are three big things that come to mind.
“Fire Clay Helton” has been the mantra for a few years now, and USC fans present at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum made the team hear it.
The Trojans were down 21-10 at halftime, and they couldn’t even get it close.
These are the winners and losers for the Trojans.
Winner — Pac-12 Conference as a whole
USC is no longer a team they have to worry about. A team that should be improving aren’t really getting better. Their running game has done better than last season with strong running from veteran Vavae Malepeai and Keaontay Ingram, but the passing game wasn’t great this game. Quarterback Kedon Slovis finished with 223 yards and a touchdown on 27-for-42 passing.
Loser — DC Todd Orlando and the USC defense
The Trojans gave up 375 total yards — 141 on the ground and 234 in the air. On top of that, the defensive line had no sacks — and they probably only touched the QB two or three times.
To add insult to injury, the Trojans committed 9 penalties totaling 109 yards against them, with 4 coming from USC’s defensive backs — specifically cornerback Chris Steele had an unnecessary roughness and a pass interference, cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart had a pass interference, and nickelback Greg Johnson had a pass interference.
Loss — HC Clay Helton
He needs to go back to the drawing board and figure out what the real issue is.
Are the players lacking discipline? Were they just outplayed by Stanford — who almost no one thought was going to win this game? Is USC just comfortable with their play and isn’t making the necessary changes?
Just a few questions to ask.
Helton said postgame that they were simply outplayed by Stanford.
“I thought they executed their game plan tremendously well; the quarterback played exceptional as a young person and really didn’t make any mistakes, didn’t have the unforced errors,” Helton said. “When you look at it across the board, they beat us in every phase. In each and every phase, you look at the execution they out-executed us. And when you look up, we did not do what we did in the first game. We got beat in penalties. We got beat on third down efficiency, and we got beat in the turnovers, we didn’t get turnovers.”
Captains Malepeai and safety Isaiah Pola-Mao spoke to the media postgame as well but just echoed what Helton said.
They’ve dropped out of the AP Top 25 announced Sunday, which isn’t surprising, and three Pac-12 teams remain on the list — Oregon at 4, UCLA at 13 and Arizona State at 19.
USC has to patch up their wounds and get back to preparation before they travel to Washington State next Saturday.