text from the WeAreSC newsletter recap of the Trojan victory over CU:
It was an example of good old-fashioned USC style football when the Trojans came to town and piled up a whole bunch of yardage while shutting down the opposing offense on the way to a big victory. All that took place on Saturday in
Good start for offense
With the altitude, the large crowd and the pressure of a big ballgame it was so important for the Trojan offense to get off to a good start in this game and that's exactly what happened. With an environment like that it's possible to let the crowd impact the game but Carson Palmer came out on fire and completed his first five passes as he marched the team right down the field before they were faced with a key 4th down situation that saw a fantastic run and catch play for a touchdown by Malaefou MacKenzie to give USC an early lead. ABC announcer Dan Fouts commented about how Norm Chow was doing an excellent job of getting so many receivers open and uncovered in space.
Key To Game – New offensive mindset
There were two sequences in the first half which showed that there is a new offensive mindset at USC as the Trojan offense looks to develop a similar attack mentality to the one that is shared by their defensive teammates. On the opening drive of the game USC had marched nicely downfield but was stopped and faced with a 4th and 8 from the 32. It was a little long for a field goal and a punt wouldn't do much good so USC elected to go for it and was the beneficiary of a terrific touchdown catch and run by Malaefou MacKenzie. It provided a serious emotional lift for the team and the call was the kind of gamble that can pay big dividends if it works and this one seemed to work like a charm. Another MacKenzie score made it 14-0 but then in the 2nd quarter there seemed to be a glimmer of hope for the Buffaloes when Carson Palmer threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted and CU was in business with good field position. A costly penalty gave the ball right back to USC, however, and we quickly took their heart out. A tough eight yard run by Brandon Hancock was followed by a first down run by McCullough and then on the next carry Sultan got outside for his long TD run and the game was essentially over. A simple pass in the flat to a running back and a run play off tackle but those two touchdown plays exemplified the new spirit on this Trojan team, the one that is always moving forward, always charging ahead, always on the attack.
Notes from the sidelines
Carson Palmer continued his impressive early season play with a consistent performance that showed how control he is of this offense.
Defense rises up
The Trojan defense rose to the challenge of facing one of the toughest rushing offenses in the country and responded with an effort that should remove any doubt as to whether or not this unit can stop a physical run-oriented team. To be fair the Buffs were extremely one-dimensional in this game but the swarming USC defense was on top of their game and was able to completely shut them down. Buff QB Robert Hodge completed his first pass but then missed on his remaining attempts. When he tried to break the pocket and run he found that open space disappears quickly with Troy Polamalu and a deceptively quick defensive line closing in on you. The Trojans forced four punts in the first quarter alone although all four kicks went for over 55 yards in the high air of
The 62 yard touchdown run was the longest of his career and it was also the 10th time as a Trojan that he has rushed for over 100 yards in a game. Sultan has really benefitted from the return of Kennedy Pola to RB coach and his performance shows on the field.
Block, Forrest, Block
Sophomore walk-on Forrest Mozart blocked a punt late in the game which was recovered in the end zone by Mike Ross.
Secondary sets tone
The Trojan secondary set the tone on the first three plays of the game with solid hits from Troy Polamalu, Ronald Nunn and DeShaun Hill to show that the USC defense came to play.
The ghost of USC kicking game troubles came back to haunt us but the coaches are confident it can all be worked out in practice……Melvin Simmons and Mike Pollard had solid games and combined on a stretch in the 2nd quarter to shut down the Buffs running attack. Simmons was an unlikely hero after missing much of the week with an infection…..Jason Leach had a timely interception when the Buffaloes were threatening to score at the end of the 2nd quarter…It was the worst Colorado loss under head coach Gary Barnett…..Darryl Poston had a touchdown run to end the scoring….
It's a fact of life in college football today that recruits want to come in and play immediately and so far it's hard to imagine a team anywhere in the country with more first year players seeing action. One of the ways that the Trojans took advantage of the bye week between games was to tinker with the line-up to get a look at which true freshmen might be ready to play and contribute at this point. Many coaches are hesitant to change once the season starts but Carroll is always looking for ways to improve. Another goal for the coach by having so many players taking part in the game is to increase the feeling of team togetherness and foster a more competitive environment with everybody involved. After the game on Saturday it's safe to say that the coaches like what they saw. Mike Williams led the team in receiving and at the rate he's going the comparisons to Keyshawn are only going to continue. Hershel Dennis makes the correct cut more often than not, a rare trait for a freshman, and his 15 yard run early in the game showed a brief flash of his potential. Brandon Hancock provided an important carry when he got eight yards on the first play following the