Going to keep it brief. After being dismantled, there isn’t much to say other than we didn’t execute in any way shape or form.
In a word, tonight’s performance was pathetic. USC came out flat and didn’t have the same energy and enthusiasm as their opponent. They started off well by holding the Beavers and getting the ball back, but the “hurry up so we can run the same play” conversion on fourth down on the first drive was silly. Kiffin thought he could trick Oregon State by hurrying up, but he should at least change the play call. After that stop, Oregon State took hold of the momentum and never looked back.
Offensively, the Trojans were incredibly out of sync. The offensive line couldn’t open up any holes, and the penetration led to a lot of carries for loss and pressure in the quarterbacks face. The holding calls added up and it seemed as though USC was faced with 1st and 20 or 2nd and 20 at least once per possession. While the high ankle sprained Matt Barkley suffered is very unfortunate, it didn’t impact the final outcome of the game. Barkley played an awful first half. His performance was low-lighted by pick six that was thrown into double coverage. Oregon State has made a living out of building quick, early leads and that interception gave them the boost they needed. The Trojans finished 4-16 on third down a compiled an anemic 255 yards. Mitch Mustain looked very rusty and threw a plethora of wobbly passes. If Barkley can’t play next Saturday, it could be another long day for the offense against Notre Dame.
Jacquizz Rodgers racked up 128 yards and Ryan Katz just had to play pitch and catch with wide open receivers for a cool 154 yards on 17-24 passing. The defense played alright early, but broke down late. The defense kept USC in the game until the fourth quarter, but the wheels came off. The most frustrating play was when USC trailed 20-0 and they forced Ryan Katz to fumble. Wes Horton had it bounce off of his hands and the Beavers recovered and punted it away. Had Horton come up with it, USC would have had the ball at the Oregon State 25 with momentum and 13:30 left in the third quarter to start a comeback.
Thank goodness the Oregon schools are in the opposite division beginning next year. As weird as it feels to say, I am so glad we only have to travel to Oregon once every four years because that state has been unkind since 2005. Football is cyclical, and USC will be back eventually, but hopefull it is sooner rather than later.
A lot of people wrote the Trojans off after their loss to Washington, but they fought back and played well afterwards. Now isn’t the time to fold with rivals Notre Dame and UCLA on the docket to close out the season. It’s time for Lane Kiffin to really earn that pay check.