USC fell to Washington State 10-7 on Saturday with another Jekyll and Hyde performance. Here’s a look at which units made the grade and which were found lacking in the Coliseum.
F is for failure. Complete and utter failure. The numbers speak for themselves — 193 total yards, 3.1 yards per play, 3-13 third down conversions, 7 points. The plus is for Tre Madden’s benefit, whose contributions will be discussed further down.
USC used two quarterbacks. Neither were close to effective. Cody Kessler managed a measly 41 yards through the air and his interception returned for a touchdown was the difference between winning and losing. However, Kessler did score the Trojans’ only points with a rollout touchdown run. Max Wittek featured in the second half with an even more paltry 13 yards passing and an interception of his own. With a combined 54 yards passing, it may have been the worst passing performance from USC since the invention of the forward pass. The play calling did neither QB a favor, but both were slow to make decisions and made poor choices and throws all night.
Marqise Lee is an elite wide receiver, but his attempts to get into the game did more harm than good. He led the team with eight receptions and 27 yards, but cost his unit on key plays when he looked for bigger gains instead of taking the yards that were there. The key example of that was in the fourth quarter on a fourth and seven when instead of falling forward for a first down, he tried to juke a defender and came up short. In addition, Nelson Agholor was a non-factor and USC’s longest pass of the night was for eight yards.
Running backs: A-
Madden was the lone bright spot on a dismal day for the USC offense. His 151 yards accounted for 78% of the Trojan offense on the night and his successful running of the Wildcat represented the only ounce of creativity on offense all night. The only knock against the running game was that Madden and company were unable to put points on the board.
Offensive line: D
The line did a decent job opening holes for Madden and there were a few passing plays with good pass protection. But as a whole, the line did little to help the poorer-than-poor offensive display.
Continue on for a look at how the defense, special teams and coaches fared.