USC vs Utah State: Report Card

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Sep 21, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans tailback Tre Madden (23) is pursued by Utah State Aggies defensive end Paul Piukala (48) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Utah State 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback: C+

Cody Kessler was on his way to a more generous grade. He threw some perfect passes — the 33-yarder to Marqise Lee and the 30-yard TD to Xavier Grimble were both on the money, while Lee and Randall Telfer both dropped key passes that should have been caught and would have improved Kessler’s numbers. Then the fourth quarter happened. The USC quarterback threw six passes and completed none of them, continuously opening the door for Utah State to come back and take the lead.

Running backs: B

Tre Madden ran strong through three quarters but also faded towards the end, failing to eclipse 100 yards for the first time this season. Whether it was his own legs tiring or the decision to move away from the run in favor of the pass late in the game, Madden’s impact was felt less and less as the game progressed. His 93 yards and 3.9 yards per carry were his lowest of the season. Justin Davis spelled Madden sparingly and with just 19 yards he didn’t have a standout day.

Receivers: B-

Lee and Grimble both had their highlight catches, but the aforementioned drops by Lee and Telfer were unacceptable. Agholor has quietly made his contributions but the Trojans need him to be much louder as teams focus their energies on stopping Lee. The fact that only four Trojans caught a pass and the second leading receiver was a runningback, hurts this unit’s grade.

Offensive Line: C-

In past weeks the o-line has gotten some mercy because their run blocking made up for deficiencies in pass protection. This week, the overall play of the unit was too inconsistent in both areas to warrant higher marks. As with most of the other grades for the offense, the second half performance didn’t help matters. Pass blocking was poor throughout and resulted in three Kessler sacks and a fumble. Run blocking in the second half left plenty to be desired.

To see how the defense fared, continue on to page two.

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