In taming the Huskies at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, the USC Trojans advanced to 5-1 on the season. The win capped a challenging road series that USC had to venture through early, against tough, hostile crowds at Stanford, Utah, and Washington. Over the next six weeks, USC will play five of those games at home in Los Angeles, and can use that time to finally start proving to the nation that they are a top contender. Against Washington, USC looked like two different teams between the two halves and as always, we learned some new things about them:
5. USC’s Defense Is A Well-Oiled Machine:
Back in August, if I would’ve told you that USC’s defensive line is an unstoppable force, you would have rolled your eyes at me. With a junior college transfer, a true freshman, two under classmen with some experience and only one veteran returning, the Trojan front four seemed like a huge liability. Six weeks later, they have proven to be anything but. And it’s not just them: USC’s skill position defenders have been pulling their weight too, much more so than last season. Against Washington, four different guys—freshman DT Leonard Williams, DE Morgan Breslin, DE Wes Horton, and DT Antwaun Woods—made Huskies QB Keith Price taste the dirt, Breslin and Williams even doing it twice apiece. OLB Dion Bailey made an incredibly athletic interception, reaching behind his body for his fourth pick of the season, and Josh Shaw—who played cornerback this week when starter Torin Harris came out with a mild concussion—grabbed one near the end of the game. S Jawanza Starling forced one of Washington’s two fumbles, and Bailey, S T.J. McDonald, and OLB Hayes Pullard had 21 tackles amongst them. USC’s defense has been the real deal, really exemplifying how menacing Monte Kiffin’s scheme is.
This week in college football in particular, we really got to see that the old adage, “defense wins games” is true. The Trojan defense has been the star of the show, and they deserve every ounce of spotlight that falls on them.