The Trojans took the field on Thursday night with something to prove on offense. For the first time since 2009, it would be someone other than Clay Helton leading the offense as the team’s offensive coordinator, following the sacking of Lane Kiffin.
Helton’s offense didn’t take long to make a statement, scoring 28 first half points, including two long touchdown passes thrown deep down the middle of the field. Overall, they racked up 546 yards of total offense, while totaling 27 first downs and converting on 6-of-13 third down conversion attempts. All of which were season highs.
Let’s pull out the report card and grade the offense in USC’s 38-31 win over Arizona.
Cody Kessler has now made four true starts at quarterback for USC, with three them being played without throwing an interception. All three of those games have been wins at the Coliseum, including last night. Kessler was 15-of-30 on Thursday, throwing for 297 yards and two scores.
The touchdown passes to Nelson Agholor and Tre Madden came early in the game, as Kessler started the night 5-of-6 for 141 yards and two touchdowns during his first three drives. He was able to find his targets, check down and wasn’t afraid to buy himself time to throw the deep ball.
But from that point on though, Kessler wasn’t exactly a world beater. He finished by completing 10 of his last 24 passes for 156 yards and his most impressive play came on a scramble of 34 yards in the third quarter.
Overall though, Kessler played within in himself, didn’t turn the ball over and managed the game effectively. Though there’s room for improvement, that’s really all you can ask for from Kessler on a night that USC suited up just two scholarship receivers.
Continue onto the next page, as we grade the running backs.