The Trojans steamrolled Colorado on Saturday in an offensive display the likes of which we had not seen all season. The passing game was crisp, the ground game efficient when called upon, the defense made the big plays we have come to expect of them, and an array of back up players got to record some valuable playing time, in-game experience that will likely be leaned on as USC challenges the meat of the season. But before we rejoice and declare USC almighty, we must consider that this big win came against the Buffaloes, who by all accounts have yet to prove themselves worthy of hanging with any of the 11 other members in the Pac-12. In spite of that, there was still much to take away from the Trojans’ win, and not all of it is positive:
5. The Trojans’ Lack Of Discipline Is Getting Old
Lost in USC hanging half a century on the Buffs was the fact that the Trojans committed 10 penalties for 90 yards, seven of which came from the defense. Among those, a personal foul and two offsides flags from LB Anthony Sarao, unsportsmanlike conduct from DT George Uko, another personal foul from S Gerald Bowman, one more offsides from DT Christian Heyward, and a personal foul from DE Leonard Williams that resulted in him being suspended from the rest of the game and possibly against Arizona, pending Pac-12 review. Letting his frustration get the best of him, Williams put his immaturity on display when he threw a punch at a Colorado player, in a game where USC had the game won before they even showed up. That decision could cost the Trojans greatly if Williams isn’t available against Arizona, which is shaping up to be yet another roadblock the Trojans will have to hurdle, considering the way the Wildcats handled Washington on Saturday. To be sure, some of the penalties came from guys who don’t normally get playing time, so their mishaps could be attributed to jitters and being over-zealous, but this isn’t the first the Trojans have show their youth and lack of discipline by way of making the refs rain down flags like confetti. Rather, we have seen it all season and it gets more and more frustrating as opponents like Oregon and Notre Dame creep up in the schedule. If USC cannot maintain its composure against lesser competition, what does that suggest about how they will fair when the tough really gets going? Coach Kiffin looked absolutely disgusted with the amount and the type of penalties the Trojans accumulated on Saturday, and he noted in his Sunday press conference that he spent his entire halftime speech telling them to clean up their act. With their season likely to be determined in the next three games, Coach Kiffin better hope his squad got the message.