Grading the Trojans

All phases of the USC Trojan team came up big in a blowout win over Washington State. SCPlayBook's Kevin Carden goes through the Trojan report card.

Coaching: A-

After an emotional win at Nebraska the Trojans showed no signs of a letdown against Washington State. The offense came out quick and got the passing game on track. Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian had a great game calling plays. Along with the blowout win the coaches were able to get a lot of young player's valuable game experience.

Quarterbacks: A-

The Trojans passing game was the only question mark coming into Saturday's game, but after completing 10 passes on the first drive of the game, John David Booty silenced all doubters. Booty had his best passing performance of the year finishing with 279 yards and four touchdowns.

Running Backs: B

Senior tailback Chauncey Washington got the start and made the most of his opportunity rushing for 84 yards on 11 carries. Washington also added a touchdown on a tough run off the edge. Stafon Johnson had another solid night running the ball, and Joe Mc Knight showed flashes of why so many people have compared him to Reggie Bush. The only negative was that C.J. Gable only got one carry.

Wide Receivers: B

The wide receivers have been one of the most scrutinized units this year for the Trojans. But against Washington State, Patrick Turner and Vidal Hazleton stepped up and showed why they are so highly regarded by the coaches. Turner and Hazleton both had six receptions on the night. The USC receivers turned several short passes into big gains by adding tough yards after the catch.

Tight Ends: A+

Fred Davis was the breakout star of the game for the Trojans on Saturday. The big tight end from Ohio had a career-high nine receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns. After the impressive performance Pete Carroll had high praise for Davis, "Freddy is one of the best tight ends in America. He's really, really a terrific football player for us," said Carroll.

Offensive Line: B+

Once again the USC offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. Sam Baker and company provided John David Booty with plenty of time to pick apart the Washington State defense and the Trojans tailbacks had lots of room to run.

Defensive Line: B+

Lawrence Jackson set the tone for the defense by sacking Alex Brink on the Cougars first play. Jackson had 2 sacks in the game and turnover machine Kyle Moore intercepted another pass. The defensive line held the Cougars to just 64 yards rushing and kept quarterback Alex Brink on the run all night.

Linebackers: A-

Senior linebacker Keith Rivers was all over the field on defense making plays against the run and in pass coverage. Rivers had one of his best games as a Trojan recording 14 tackles. Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga also had a solid game in run support finishing with 6 tackles. Clay Mathews performed admirably with a cast on his broken thumb. Brian Cushing re-injured his ankle making a tackle on the sideline and will have an MRI some time this week.

Defensive Backs: B-

After giving up a 44-yard pass on the Cougars first possession the USC cornerbacks tightened up and limited the Cougars prolific passing attack to 186 yards. Cornerback Cary Harris dislocated his right shoulder early in the game and Shareece Wright and Mozique McCurtis filled in at cornerback. Freshman Marshall Jones also saw action in Saturday's game. With Cary Harris out for at least a few weeks, Shareece Wright will star in his place and Mozique McCurtis will back up Wright. Marshall Jones and Will Harris could see some action at safety.

Special Teams: B

The Trojans did some really good things on special teams but still have some areas to work on. Desmond Reed had a good night returning kicks and the kickoff coverage was solid led by Allen Bradford. The Trojans offense was so dominant that punter Greg Woidneck never saw the field. David Buehler connected on both of his field goal attempts but missed an extra point.

 


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