The USC Trojans take the field during their spring game on Saturday. Photo c/o Tim Lutes & uscfootball.com
The culmination of USC spring ball came on Saturday with the annual Spring Game, and it was interesting to say the least. Not only did a crowd of over 15,000 show up in support but many notable Trojan alum like Marcus Allen, Tony Boselli, Sam Cunningham, Keyshawn Johnson, Ronnie Lott, Willie McGinest, Anthony Munoz, and Junior Seau also came to speak to the current players on the sidelines. So fans that went were treated to some good football and a trip down USC’s hall of fame on a sunny afternoon.
As for the game itself, there were some things that came as nice surprise for those in attendance. For those who don’t know, the offense and the defense square off against each other, with the score kept in that fashion. The defense earns three points for stops on drives, and five points for turnovers; the offense get points the same way they normally would in a real game. This year the game featured a no tackle policy, which meant that some of USC’s stars that have been dealing with injuries were allowed some playing time, and that starting QB Matt Barkley could also get some reps in with his familiar weapons.
Here are some stats from Saturday’s game:
- The defense won with a score of 34-27. The offense scored three TDs and two field goals, while the defense stopped eight drives and snagged up a pair of turnovers.
- Though we saw more of Matt Barkley than in other scrimmages this spring, he did not have a stellar game. He completed just 23-of-39 passes, and also threw one touchdown and one interception. He did however have three times as many attempts as the backup QBs, which is interesting because this was thought to be their last chance to show what they are made of.
- Back up QBs Max Wittek and Cody Kessler had seven and six pass attempts, respectively. Wittek ended the spring game going 3-of-7 for 27 yards, and Kessler went 3-6 for 68 yards, and did throw one pick. At the end of the game, Lane Kiffin said he was no closer to naming QB 2 than he was a month ago. This was kind of expected, as there still is a long way to go until fall camp.
- Xavier Grimble (tight end), one of USC’s biggest (literally) offensive weapons suited up for the first time in weeks, as did De’Von Flournoy, who has been experiencing a recent uptick in his progress at the wide receiver position in the absence of Robert Woods this spring. Between Flournoy and Marquise Lee, they had 69 and 57 yards, respectively.
- D.J. Morgan had an excellent game and made some waves for himself, carrying the ball six times for 53 yards and a touchdown. As a result, Coach Kiffin named him MVP of the day.
- Soma Vainuku, a fullback we don’t talk about too often, made a solid effort to change that when he caught four passes for 66 yards, including an exciting 44 yard catch-and-run. Vainuku is tasked with becoming as prominent of a fullback as Trojan workhorse Stanley Havili was two seasons ago, a presence USC sorely missed last season.
- The Trojan defense had a great day, with many players racking up stats. Isiah Wiley had the best day of all the CBs, leading the defense with five deflections and four tackles. Linebacker Hayes Pullard and cornerback Anthony Brown tied for a team-high six tackles each. And defensive ends Devon Kennard, Greg Townsend, and Morgan Breslin all recorded “sacks”, which were really just touches to the QB because of the no-tackle policy.
With Spring Ball coming to a close, there are still plenty of loose ends that the Trojans need to tie up during fall camp, set to take start in August. In the mean time, expect this team to diligently continue with offseason workouts and meetings until that day comes.