For two straight weeks, the Trojans have displayed impressive games, which could be a preview to the BCS Bowl Championship Series. After defeating the Idaho Vandals in less than convincing fashion, the John David Booty led Trojans chalked up two impressive wins in a row. Watching this team develop is reminiscent of watching Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart led teams as the season progresses.
John David Booty's Heisman Campaign
After Saturday's performance, John David Booty can now officially throw in his hat among other Heisman hopefuls. Booty was a leading preseason candidate but his first two outings were average. In this contest Booty's numbers were 28-35 passing, 279 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. His accuracy, leadership and confidence count toward the "intangibles" category.
Patrick Turner Warming Up
The wait for Patrick Turner to inherit the reigns passed on by Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith is close at hand. Turner has battled back from a shoulder stinger and is beginning to gain his form. He had six receptions for sixty-four yards will improve those numbers in the coming weeks.
Welcome Back, Chauncey
Chauncey Washington also returned to the starting line up after being held out for the last few weeks while recovering from injury. Washington is hungry and put in a determined effort, going for 85 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. What he brings to the table as a tailback is experience, leadership, determination and blocking skills.
Fred Davis Plays Big
Senior tight end Fred Davis had a career night catching nine passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Davis had a great Spring and Fall and has been catching balls lights out in practice. Booty and Davis finally translated that practice timing to a game. The tight end position has been fairly quiet for the Trojans since the departure of Dominique Byrd and Alex Holmes. Davis could be a critical piece of a championship run.
Sedrick Ellis and Lawrence Jackson are leaders on the defensive line. Making a name for himself is Kyle Moore. Each of the first three games Moore has had a part in critical turnovers. On Saturday, Moore intercepted a pass by quarterback Alex Brink. The only question remains is when will Moore return one for a touchdown.
It's All About the Ball
In the post game press conference, Pete Carroll intimated that he is not satisfied with the turnover ratio. Carroll's philosophy is that a team takes care of the ball on offense and "gets the ball (turnover)" on defense. He says they are working on this aspect but have not yet reached expectations. Typically a Carroll led team will lead the league in turnover ratio.
Putting the Pieces Together
In three games, this team has shown flashes of brilliance at different times. In due time all the pieces will fit together like a well-oiled machine. This week's contest featured the passing combination of Booty and his wealth of receivers. Last week it was an unstoppable run game. Special teams have been effective all season. The defensive front seven has been solid. The secondary needs to pick up the pace. When all of these elements come together in the same game, the opponent will simply go away.
After returning from the Coliseum it was a pleasant surprise to watch the ABC game broadcast. Dan Fouts calling the play-by-play and guest videos of Keith Jackson brought back memories of Jackson's reign as the King of College Football. Jackson and Fouts made a great duo, but Jackson himself will never be matched.
During the broadcast, Fouts announced that this was the first time ever that it has rained during a USC football game in September. While an entertaining anecdote, it seems plausible but at the same time impossible.
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
O.J. Mayo and Tim Floyd
ABC interviewed first year basketball star O.J. Mayo and Coach Tim Floyd on the sidelines. Floyd is confident that the team he's put together this year will perform well. Mayo was composed and refined in his interview. It will be an exciting campaign at the Galen Center this year.
Allen Bradford Gets It
Rather than be discouraged about his diminished role in the offense, Allen Bradford turned in a solid special teams effort, with three unassisted tackles and scored a touchdown on a pass from Booty.
Tighten Down the Corners
Cushing and Matthews Continued
Brian Cushing has battled a sprained ankle since the first game and tweaked the ankle again. His replacement, Clay Matthews suffered a broken thumb in Nebraska but also injured his shoulder against the Cougars. Matthews has been playing well in relief of Cushing.