USC entered the frozen tundra that is the home of the University of Colorado Buffaloes, and emerged victorious, like the five USC teams before this one. The Buffs never really posed any kind of threat to the Trojans, but early on it looked as if the cold weather was a limiting factor. It took a little while for the offense to get going, but once USC found its rhythm, the Trojans never looked back, beating the Buffs 42-17 and extending their record to 8-2.
Because, let’s face it: anything less than that would’ve been absolutely unacceptable.
Matt Barkley played one of the best games of his career, passing for 318 yards and six touchdown passes. In doing so, he passed USC greats like Rodney Peete, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, and Marc Sanchez, who had all passed for five touchdowns each. Previously, Barkley had thrown five touchdown passes in a game four times in his career, and it was clear based on how incompetent the Buff’s defense is that Lane Kiffin would try to make it so that Barkley could break that record. He finally did it in the fourth quarter, hitting Amir Carlisle for the Trojans’ final touchdown of the game.
USC’s special teams also came up SUPER clutch in this game, with tight ends Rhett Ellison and Randall Telfer both blocking a field goal apiece. USC fans have gotten used to—and have thoroughly enjoyed—the beast of a special teams unit that they have been treated to.
Some fans and analysts worried that the Trojans would falter after the devastating but unarguably thrilling triple-OT loss to Stanford the week before, but apparently no one told the Trojans they were supposed to struggle. Not only did they not struggle, but they also played with poise unbecoming of a team that just lost the marquee game of the season. USC burned the Buffs for 561 yards of total offense with an incendary passing game. The running game did take a minute to get going, but once it did, it was quite successful. Curtis McNeal recorded his first career start with the Trojans, but then sat out the second half of the game with a bruised hip and knee. Before he went out, he had 87 yards on 10 carries. Freshmen D.J. Morgan and Amir Carlisle filled in for McNeal, but the running game wasn’t super critical for the Trojans in this game. Still, it performed with crisp precision that should please Trojan fans and have them hopeful going forward.
Defensively, the Trojans did a fine job of keeping points off the board. They did give up 384 yards, which would imply that the Buffs moved the ball on USC a lot better than they actually did. I suppose some credit can be given to the Buffs because they prevented USC from shutting them out…but they still gave up 42 points, the fifth time in a row that they have conceded more than 30 points in a game. The secondary had a scare early in the game, when Drew McCallister—who started while T.J. McDonald served his suspension—got caught up on a crossing route and Colorado scored a 37-yard touch down pass in the first three minutes of the game. The Trojans shook it off though, and McCallister would go on to have a pretty good half.
Likewise, the Trojans didn’t really miss linebacker Dion Bailey, either. Tre Madden started in his place while Bailey continues to recover from a concussion, and he held his own in the linebacking corps. And speaking of the linebacking corps, Lamar Dawson got a lot more playing time than was anticipated, and he looked great doing it. As of now, Dawson will also be starting next week when the Trojans taking on the University of Washington Huskies. It is not entirely clear yet why Chris Galippo appears to have been demoted again—last season he was replaced as the started by current defensive end Devon Kennard—but more information on this development should be available in this week’s practice.
So, they you have it. The Trojans did what the Trojans have done better than anyone else in the past decade—deliver beat downs to their opponents. I guess that was expected in this game, as the Buffs are winless in conference play (0-9), and the Trojans are riding a high that only they can explain. One would think that such a close loss to Stanford for the third year in a row would be demoralizing, but it seems that the exact opposite is happening. This USC has come together, they have officially found their way in this sanctioned world they live in, and they are slowly but surely reminding everyone who they are.
After all, they don’t triumphantly yell, “We are SC!” for no reason.
Tags: Amir Carlisle Buffs Carson Palmer Colorado D.J. Morgan Devon Kennard Dion Baiely Drew McCallisterm Curtis McNeal Marc Sanchez Matt Barkley Matt Leinart Rodney Peete T.J. McDonald Tre Madden Trojans