For more than three quarters, SC was a dominant team. Obviously there was a let down in the fourth quarter, but one should not forget that this Udub team has a very potent Offense and for much of the game, the USC defense, minus Shaun Cody and two of the starting cornerbacks, held the Huskies in check. They did pass the ball very well, but they had no choice. Their total rushing yardage was -5 yards and to my way of thinking that was key to this game.
There are many aspects of the game that are worth mentioning. This time I will start out with special teams and punting. Our kickoff coverage still leaves something to desire. It seems like the Huskies were able to run the ball back with more ease then I would have liked to see. However, our punting game has taken a huge step up. Kudos to Tom Malone. He has seemingly made the adjustment to major college ball and he is turning into a huge weapon. On at least two occasions, he absolutely boomed the ball and that is something that cannot be overstated. Similarly, the field goals and extra points were all successful today and how many times has that not been the case. Hooray, is all I can say. It is a welcome improvement indeed.
I thought the Oline did a very nice job protecting Carson. It was hard to run against the UW, but we passed with relative ease and to my recollection, there was no major sack, though I believe the official stats list one. Nonetheless, with Eric Torres playing the all important left tackle, Carson received good protection. And speaking of Carson, he had a great game. The one pick he threw was certainly not a bad throw. Mike Williams had the ball and then it bounced out of his hands and into the defenders hands. Carson showed accuracy with the long ball today that was amazing. I can't recall ever seeing him throw such accurate post patterns and hitting the receivers right in stride. The vertical game was there and when that is clicking, folks, this SC O is tough to defend. If they take away the run, we pass. If they take away the pass, we run. We put up bigtime points today and if not for a couple of drops, who knows how many we might have had. Today, Carson Palmer looked every bit the All World Quarterback that many awaited when he signed his letter of intent. He even made a nice run and tucked the ball away to prevent his almost predictable fumble. Once again, good job Carson.
The receivers played well and it was nice to see the long ball. We will live and die at times with Mike Williams. At times he is all world, in fact most of the time. But he is a freshman and he will play like one at times. The fumble was a killer late in the game and of course he had a couple of somewhat atypical drops. Overall, his pluses outweighed the minuses and he is simply on his way to becoming one of the Great Receivers in Trojan history. Colbert played well despite the one sure TD that he dropped and it was nice to see an injured Kareem Kelly make a nice catch and run, maintaining his consecutive games with a reception streak at the same time. Alex Holmes caught one and he blocked well while in the game. Perhaps as fine a catch as any was the late game, off balance catch by MacKenzie which enabled SC to continue their last scoring drive. That catch was vital and it helped secure the game securing drive.
We did not run the ball especially well, but we did run just enough to keep them from keying on the passing game. Udub has a very tough down four and few teams will light them up on the ground. We did get some key gains by both Sultan and Justin Fargas with Justin getting his first rushing touchdown of his USC career on a very nice late game jaunt into the endzone. In this day and age, there will be some games when the D takes something away but gives away something else. In this game, Carson was on fire and the Huskies had no luck at all covering the receivers or stopping the SC offensive juggernaut.
I spent a great deal of time watching the defense from the stands. It was nice to see Van Brown get some meaningful minutes and he looks like he can be effective once he gets into the swing of things. I also noted that LaJuan Ramsey played and thus he is not redshirting. He looks to have a good motor with decent size and speed and I think he will be a vital clog in the Dline in future years and he will give us much needed depth right now. When the Huskie qb had time, he was very good and very accurate. SC did not blitz often and I had to wonder out loud about that strategy though the end justified the means by definition. Washington was held below its usual offensive output in both points and yardage so it's hard to question the D scheme. I also admit that at times SC disguised their coverage so it did manage to confuse Pickett enough to allow us to pick a couple and for three quarters they were not able to score many points. Reggie Williams had a big game, but he did not have any 80 yard plays and that was a big plus for this Trojan D. Overall, I thought Allmond played well enough and he will likely continue to improve.
An extra benefit of being there in person was that after the game I got to meet some nice people. Perhaps the most interesting was my discussion with Willie Buchanon, the former All Pro who played with the Packers. He knows quite a bit about football and listening to his takes was a real pleasure. I was sure to tell him that in time I think his son William will be a star at cornerback and he will be one of the new breed of tall corners that will make their name in the NFL. That is something that I believe very strongly will come to be.
Finally, I want to complement the coaches. Although they will always make calls that don't satisfy all comers, there is no doubt that this team is well coached. The number of dumb penalties is down, they are in every game and they seem to improve from week to week. SC has not been blown out by anyone and I suspect that they will not be an easy mark for any Pac-10 team. Congratulations to the USC staff and I can only hope that the team is healthy and ready for yet another huge game in Eugene next week. This SC team can beat the Ducks , but talk is cheap and it's time to prove that on the field.
One Man's Opinion - Washington review
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