USC vs. Idaho
September 12, 2015 at 5:00pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: 72,422
Total Time: 3 hours 18 minutes
USC gets a nice primetime slot for week two despite a less than stellar matchup. Too bad it was on the Pac-12 Network for the second week in a row—Sorry DirecTV customers!
As USC runs through what seems like the entire Sun Belt conference, they averaged 57 points and 7.5 points allowed per game. Those numbers will fall back to more realistic levels as the Trojans face conference foes.
Again, there’s not too much that you can extrapolate from the team’s play at this point of the season. Some of the big things are:
- The kicking game. Another kickoff out of bounds?
- Adoree’ finding out when to call for a fair catch.
- The defense needs to figure out what they’re doing for the first drive of the third quarter.
All of that stuff is kind of negative, so let’s take a look at everything else instead.
Although Adoree’ Jackson played sparingly on offense, all but one of his offensive touches went for first downs. The single play that wasn’t got only 8 yards. Take a look at the highlight of one of his plays below:
His catch and run at the 1:33 mark of the video shows what this crazy man can do. The Idaho defense took almost 20 seconds to bring him down despite Adoree’ coming to a complete stop at one point.
Kind of reminds me of this run…
Jackson may need to be a bit more conservative on special teams though. If someone sprinkled in some bad luck, the jump from last week and the fair catch no-calls this week could’ve ended up being disastrous, momentum-changing moments. Even if potential injuries don’t scare him, fumbles are still a thing.
Another receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster, had a career night with a 192 yard, 2 TD performance. He tops the team in all-purpose yards—both in total yards and yards per game….even though all he does is catch. But what was with that penalty? I would never have expected Smith-Schuster to get unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Yet, there it was, a 15-yard variety after Idaho scored their first and only touchdown.
Luckily, Cody Kessler and the offense responded quickly in the ensuing 6 play, 1:37 drive. After doing a short dump off, Kessler completed five straight passes of 10+ yards to get the touchdown. It was as if the fight song never stopped playing.
Kessler finished the night with 410 yards passing, 3 touchdowns and only 2 more incompletions than touchdowns. Even more notable was that he completed two passes that were thrown for over 20 yards. This was a good sign considering how the main criticism from last week was him missing deep throws.
Kessler’s 7-0 touchdown-interception ratio is the best in the nation at this point. Three quarterbacks have more touchdowns, but also have more interceptions:
Seth Russell (Baylor) 9-4
Matt Johnson (Bowling Green) 8-1
Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) 8-1
Unfortunately, no USC running back is close to being at the top of a national stat chart. However, that speaks more of the running back depth than the ineptitude of play. The Trojans allowed all five of their scholarship running backs some carries and were vindicated with five rushing touchdowns. The group had 29 carries for 248 yards, averaging 8.55 per rush. When including the walk-ons, it still comes out to 35 carries for 285 yards averaging 8.14 per rush. When you can run like that, you can do anything you want.
Out of all the running backs, true freshman Ronald Jones II was the one that stood out the most. He had some good runs between the tackles and broke some longer runs. Late in the second quarter, Jones’ 31 yard touchdown run was nullified by a holding call on Max Tuerk. That run likely would not have been sprung if not for the holding, so it was a legit penalty. During the fourth quarter, however, it was like some kind of sick game for the officials. How many times can they deny Ronald Jones II of touchdowns? Even after a review, they wouldn’t give him a 45-yard touchdown run. Instead, they called it a 44-yard run with Jones going down at the 1-yard line. Sad times. Your Pac-12 officials at work.
Overall, the USC offense compiled a nasty 737 yards of total offense. The last time they got even close to that was when Leinart, Bush, and the 2005 USC team destroyed Arkansas with 70 points and 736 yards. Times have certainly changed.
The defense played decently for most of the game. A couple of rookie mistakes led to some big gains and scores from the Idaho offense. I say, let them have it. How many of you guys can even name the Idaho starting QB even after seeing that game? I already forgot his name…Poor guy.
There were some things like the pass intereference penalty and corners, linebackers, and safeties getting caught out of position. With so much youth on the roster, these things should be solved as time goes on.
I bet all of you wanted a bunch of potato jokes and puns, but I won’t deliver. Pretty much every place that serves french fries doesn’t deliver. HAH. Okay, it stops there. And you guys wonder why their mascot is the Vandals? I would become one too being the butt end of so many jokes about my state. Instead, let these useless stats fill up your head. One day, while you’re taking your exams, you won’t be able to remember what Grice’s Maxims are, but you will remember these useless week two stats about USC. What’s that? You didn’t know what Grice’s Maxims were in the first place? Should have been a comm major.
Completely pointless stat: USC has as many first downs as points per game (57).
Misleading stat of the week: USC has stopped 100% of points after touchdowns
Context: USC has only allowed two touchdowns so far this season. Arkansas State failed to convert their 2-point conversion and Idaho’s kick was blocked by Claude Pelon.