49-31 Trojans Win
An 18 point victory seems fine at first blush, but the game was a tight contest right up until the end, tied with as little as 8 minutes remaining. Ultimately, a pair of swift touchdown drives and a pick-6 iced the game, but the grumbling from Trojans fans was audible. With a massive contest against Stanford looming, USC simply can’t afford to be making these kinds of mistakes.
Running Backs Shine, Darnold Doesn’t
The two primary running backs for the Trojans each had fantastic days, with Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr forming a two headed monster that ran 25 times for 228 yards and five touchdowns. That astounding performance was offset by Darnold’s lackluster showing. He wasn’t terrible, with a decent completion percentage and 8.8 yards per attempt, and he did pick up a touchdown on the ground, but 2 interceptions and no passing touchdowns aren’t enough.
Running Defense Proves Pourous
The Trojans gave up 263 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. They sorely miss defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, a graduate transfer from Utah who shored up the defensive line last season. The offseason didn’t generate a new talent to take his place, or at least the coaching staff haven’t figured out how to replace that production. Given their next game, it’s particularly urgent they get it done.
Stanford on 9/9. This massive contest is a major pecking-order match in the PAC 12 and will draw the eyes of the nation. If Western Michigan can rack up 263 yards, one has to think that Stanford’s offensive coordinator is eager to see what the Cardinal can do.