Bounce back win for Trojans

The Trojan coaches wanted the team to bounce back after a tough loss last week and it's safe to say they will be pleased with this effort as USC rode the backs of a dominating defensive line performance en route to a 22-0 shutout victory over Oregon State.

text from the WeAreSC newsletter:

 

The Trojan coaches wanted the team to bounce back after a tough loss last week and it's safe to say they will be pleased with this effort as USC rode the backs of a dominating defensive line performance en route to a 22-0 shutout victory over Oregon State in front of 56,417 at the Coliseum.  It was the 19th straight time the Trojans have beaten the Beavers at home and this one was a whipping as USC notched five sacks, had 14 tackles for loss and only allowed them past midfield three times during the conference opener for both teams. 

 

Dominant defensive line

 

There is no other way to say it.  The play of the defensive line was so dominant that this unit can now be mentioned as one of the best, if not the best, lines in the country.  It wasn't so much that they attacked the quarterback, they absolutely destroyed him.  Derek Anderson came into the game with a swagger that was quickly removed thanks to a constant pounding and by the second quarter it was clear that he was shaken and wouldn't be a factor.  Beaver RB Steven Jackson caused major problems last season for the Trojans but in this game we shut him down early and often.  Seven times the USC defense dropped him for negative yardage and he was never able to get on track or make a big play.  This was an offense that came in ranked #2 in the country and was averaging nearly 500 yards per game, albeit against inferior competition, yet they were thoroughly stuffed by an overwhelming force on this day.  The entire USC defense rose to the challenge but those efforts were led by the incredible tempo set by the line.  Ed Orgeron has this group playing at an incredibly high level right now and each guy had his moment in the sun.  Mike Patterson had two sacks, two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery as he continues to shine.  Shaun Cody faced a double team all day and was relentless while adding a fumble recovery of his own after a 4th down hit by Kenechi Udeze.  BKU also had a key tackle for loss on the 3rd down play prior to that as he will abuse any TE that is assigned to guard him.  Omar Nazel forced a fumble when he drove his man back into the QB and he later added a sack on the final play of the first half.  Bernard Riley was not to be forgotten as the lone senior of the group had a key 3rd down tackle for loss on Jackson to force a Beaver field goal attempt that was missed.  It was a terrific group effort and it was a terrific individual effort for the members of the d-line on Saturday.  They truly played an outstanding game.

 

Buck-up William

 

William Buchanan, "Buch" to his teammates, had his first start and passed with flying colors.  This could prove to be a great move by PC to take a seldom-used WR and fill and key need for a taller CB.

 

Killer Kileen

Ryan Kileen won the placekicking job and made 3 of 4 field goals, he has a strong leg and gives the Trojans two dependable kickers.

Hammering Holmes

Alex Holmes showed why he can be effective with four timely catches and the inability of one defender to bring him down on a tackle. 

Key to game - Gut check time

 

This game had all the familiar signs of a potential letdown.  Too many times in recent years the Trojans have started the year strong only to fall apart at the first sign of a struggle such as the loss last week to Kansas State.  We knew this team was led by seniors and a motivated coaching staff that would work hard to keep morale up but would it be enough?  The Beavers came to town with guns blazing on both sides of the ball so there was legitimate reason for concern.  Fortunately, the results that we saw on the field were so one-sided in favor of USC that it leaves little doubt about the mental state of the program right now.  From the opening kickoff our defense dictated the pace of the game and didn't allow the Oregon State offense to get into a rhythm.  This is a perfect example of how Pete Carroll is utterly confusing opposing offensive coaches these days because Oregon State tried at first to go away from the normal star in Troy Polamalu but that strategy just opened things up for other players.  Carroll had a good relationship with Marv Goux and Goux would have been proud of the relentless way the Trojan defense hounded the opponent.  We demoralized them. Oregon State came in with 29 plays of 25 yards or more, we allowed one.  They came in converting over 50% of 3rd down conversions, we held them to 1 for 15.  An offense that was ranked #2 in the country gained 30 yards in the second half against our defense.  It was an impressive performance indeed.

 

Notes from the sidelines

DeShaun Hill played what might have been his best game in a Trojan uniform as he had a big hit on the opening series and also added a key pass deflection.  He left the game after being on the receiving end of a collision with Troy Polamalu but is expected to be fine…..The replacement for Hill, Jason Leach, performed well with a blocked punt on special teams…..The Trojan running game wasn't able to break a big play but they were effective led by Sultan McCullough with an extended appearance by Justin Fargas.  Sultan is getting better at using his speed while making cuts while Fargas showed a stretch of hard running that will make a real nice 1-2 punch with Sultan as we go through conference play.  Sultan also contributed to the passing game with 4 catches on the day…...Matt Grootegoed had another excellent game as he is starting to look very comfortable at the outside linebacker position.  Groots helped set the tone early in the game as he was all over the Beaver backfield.  His back-up, Dallas Sartz, had an interception as well…..Matt Cassel was the holder for Ryan Kileen instead of Tom Malone because Malone is the regular holder for Dave Davis while Cassel works with Kileen because Ryan is a right-footed kicker and the coaches have been working each kicker with those holders since fall camp…..Carson Palmer passed Rodney Peete as the all-time leader in total offense for the Trojans…..Jacob Rogers left the game with what appeared to be a right knee sprain.  Eric Torres moved to LT as his replacement.  Winston Justice played well at RT in this game…...

Final thoughts

 

It was role reversal week at the Coliseum as the Trojans caught every pass in sight while the special teams made the plays when they had to.  No player bounced back in a big way more than freshman receiver Mike Williams who had two wonderful touchdown catches while showing the playmaking ability that we all know he possesses.  He had the maturity to stay focused on his technique and nowhere was that more evident than on the fade patterns when he used his body so well to separate himself from the defender.  Williams also does an excellent job of allowing for space between himself and the sidelines which gives the quarterback space to throw the ball up and give his man a chance to make the play.  The receiver needs to have 7-8 yards of space between himself and the sideline on the fade, something that Kareem Kelly has yet to figure out, and Williams and Carson Palmer took advantage of that proper spacing to connect on a couple big plays.  Keary Colbert was the steadying element and he led the charge in the first half as the receivers gave the offense a needed boost in what had been a field position battle.  The Trojans were backed up in their end facing a 3rd down situation but a completion along the sideline to Colbert gave them a first down, Palmer then hit Williams down the middle and another completion to Colbert suddenly found USC driving on the way to a field goal to open the scoring.  After a game last week when the position struggled so much it was nice to see the receivers provide the offense with a much needed lift.  The special teams made a change with Ryan Kileen taking over the placekicking role and he responded by hitting 3 of 4 field goals, with his only miss coming on a scuff kicked that was partially blocked.  Kileen has already shown a strong leg on kickoffs and now will be his opportunity to hold on to this job.  Tom Malone was another freshman like Williams who listened to the encouragement of his teammates and came back with a very good game.

 


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