I have to admit that entering the overtime, I thought we had a real chance to win this game. However, I really feel that the offensive play calling during the OT period was absolutely the worst exhibition of strategy that I have ever seen in my entire football life. There may be those who disagree strongly, but the word PATHETIC comes to my mind when talking about the Overtime.
We lost this game to a very good WSU team that deserves to be rated higher than USC. They beat the Trojans fair and square. They have an injured qb that exposed the SC defense and anytime a team gives up in excess of 500 yards, one cannot say the defense played well. The defense did play well at times, but they uncharacteristically gave up too many big plays and the tackling was not up to par. I never anticipated WSU getting a score off a 75 yard touchdown run and that was certainly a backbraker. Their receivers did not drop nearly as many catchable balls as the SC players did. In the end, the WSU defense made more big plays and got more sacks and penetration than their much more highly rated counterparts.
It should be pointed out that even in the face of this loss, some very good things did surface. Mike Williams has established himself as a real go to sort of guy who has a chance to develop into a truly great SC receiver. We know all too well that a good f reshman season does not a great career make. However, Mike has come back from his poor performance against KSU to make some terrific catches and he has gotten very tough Yards after Catches. His height is a real weapon and it won't be long before he is the one getting all the double teams.
The Oline play today was arguably the very worst I have seen all season. Carson was sacked far too many times and the running game was never able to get untracked following the interception that Carson threw into the end zone. Prior to that I thought things might click with Sultan leading the way. However, by the end of the night, especially in overtime, the unit seemed to have taken a big step backwards and it was very disconcerting to say the least. Perhaps we should be complementing the Dline from Washington State, but I think the USC Oline was just out of sync and they had their clocks cleaned too many times.
The Dline was largely ineffective in getting adequate pressure on Gesser, sometimes due to the fact that only three guys rushed. I don't know what the best approach to have taken really was. However, since Gesser carved the D up with precision, it seems reasonable to state that for much of the game, things did not click. I will complement the D for giving SC the chance to get the go ahead score. They made a cruicial stop and SC was able to go in for what should have been the winning score. It was not meant to be since the missed extra point came back and haunted the Trojans. Geez, how many times has that scenario played out for SC over the past many years?? One might sarcastically say that blown PAT was simply a deja-vu all over again.
Some might point to the loss of Troy P as being a critical cog in this loss. Perhaps that is true, but excuses are useless. A team has to win with what it has and SC evidently did not have just enough. Many will point out that if SC does not miss so many easy catches, or if perhaps William Buchanon was not tackled by Bush on that long TD run (review the tape if you disagree) by WSU's Green, or if Killeen makes the PAT, this game is won by the Trojans. Others will point out what a great comeback the Trojans actually made to get back the lead. Others will just be totally down on the team after this loss that should not have been. Personally, I remain most diappointed with the bad football played in OT . To my way of thinking, the coaching and execution in that OT period put a serious damper on this night and I am only hoping it is not a damper on the entire season. I can't help but feel that this was the one game that we just had to have. It's a bad feeling so early on in the season to know that one does not have one's own destiny in one's own hands. I had really hoped that I would be able to post that we had passed that point. I still think the season has a huge upside, but IMO, this is a deflating loss whose real effects might take a while to sink in.