The Trojans came out fast in the first quarter and jumped out to a 21 point lead. But in the 2nd and 4th quarter the Trojans put on lackluster performances. USC wasn't as dominant expected and have plenty to work on during the bye week.
On the positive side, the Trojans got a convincing victory without revealing too much of their offensive scheme. And Pete Carroll got a lot of young player's valuable game experience including six true freshmen.
John David Booty had a stellar fall camp and is being touted as a Heisman Trophy candidate. But Saturday night Booty wasn't nearly as sharp as he has been in camp. The absence of Patrick Turner had a lot to do with Booty's less than spectacular performance. Look for Booty to step up his game against Nebraska on September 15th.
On Saturday night, the nation got to see what everyone at USC practices have been raving about. Stanley Havili has the athleticism to be a premiere fullback. Havili gives the Trojans another weapon that opposing defenses will have to worry about. Havili had 5 catches against Idaho.
The Trojans running game was the high point of the night. C.J. Gable had a very solid game as the starting tailback. Coach Carroll loves Gable's straight ahead style. Gable looked bigger and more physical than last year breaking several tackles against Idaho. Gable had a team high 68 yards on 8 carries.
The emergence of Stafon Johnson is real positive sign for the running game. "It was a really good game for Stafon Johnson," said Carroll. "I'm really pleased that he got to show what he's been doing on our practice field." Johnson had his best game as a Trojan finishing with 12 carries for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Vidal Hazelton started in place of the injured Patrick Turner and had the best night of all the Trojan receivers. Hazelton's one-handed touchdown catch was the play of the night. David Ausberry also added 5 catches for 46 yards. When Patrick Turner returns, the Trojans will have three receivers with big play ability in Turner, Ausberry, and Hazelton.
Fred Davis looked good when used in the passing game. He had 2 catches for 49 yards against the Vandals. Davis should be more involed in the passing game against Nebraska.
The offensive line performed well against the undersized Vandals. John David Booty had plenty of time in the pocket and the Trojans rushed for 214 yards. True freshman Kristofer O'Dowd did a solid job in his first college game. O'Dowd became the first true freshman ever to start at center for USC. Look for the offensive line to steadily improve as they gain more experience throughout the season.
The defensive line had a good, but not great game against Idaho. Sedrick Ellis was tough against the run and Kyle Moore had a big fumble recovery. But the defensive line's inability to put consistent pressure on Nathan Enderle is a concern.
Like the defensive line, the linebackers had a solid night but didn't do anything spectacular. Clay Mathews and Keith Rivers both made several plays against Idaho. Brian Cushing went down early with a sprained ankle, but should be back in action for the Nebraska game.
One of the major strengths of this years USC team is the talent and depth of the defensive backfield. Besides the emergence of Shareece Wright, the secondary had a very average night against the Vandals. Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle was much more effective than anticipated. The secondary will get a boost when the versatile Josh Pinkard returns.
The play of David Buehler was one of the real bright spots against Idaho. Buehler consistently blasted kickoffs into the end zone. Buehler's ability to reach the end zone on kickoffs will contribute to the Trojan's success on defense. Vincent Joseph and Desmond Reed also looked good in the return game. And Clay Mathews continued to contribute on special teams with a blocked field goal attempt.