USC vs. Arkansas State Report Card: Grading the Trojan Offense


USC vs. Arkansas State featured a main course of offensive fireworks for the Trojans, with a side of concern up front in the trenches.

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Here’s how each offensive unit graded out against the Red Wolves.

A-. It was a typical Cody Kessler outing on Saturday night, with the Trojan quarterback showing off trademark efficiency. With 236 yards and four touchdowns, Kessler and USC should be pleased with the start of his final season.
Why the A-minus? Because Kessler is being graded on a Heisman scale now and his numbers could have been spectacular as opposed to great if his deep ball had been more effective. Taking five sacks in the first half does not help either.
. Standout. Cody Kessler. QUARTERBACK

A. A healthy Tre Madden equals an automatic 100-yard rushing game. So it should be no surprise that Madden returned to his place as the starter after missing all of last season and totaled 109 on just 12 carries. The bulk of those yards came on his rumbling-tumbling 65-yard touchdown, but that was just proof that he is always a threat to make a big play.
The three freshmen were also on show. Ronald Jones II and Aca’Cedric Ware scored for the first time as Trojans, with Jones giving the Coliseum crowd their first taste of his break away speed on long 44-yard scamper down the sideline.
As expected, Dominic Davis’ role was mostly in receiving, where he totaled 53 yards on two receptions.
. Standout. Tre Madden. RUNNING BACK

RECEIVER. A. Seven different receivers caught a pass for USC, which is a great sign for the now-deep Trojan receiving corps.
JuJu Smith-Schuster was the undisputed star of the group as he so often will be. His touchdown to open the proceedings was a perfect demonstration of his strength and speed.
Steve Mitchell looked bright before injuring his wrist, while Isaac Whitney and De’Quan Hampton showed promise in their debuts.
Jalen Greene also got in on the action and proved dangerous receiving and as a gadget option.
Taylor McNamara caught his first score as a Trojan from the tight end spot.
. Standout. JuJu Smith-Schuster

OFFENSIVE LINE. D. The fun ends here.
The unit could have earned an F for their performance in the opening half. Giving up five sacks in a game would be unacceptable, let alone in two quarters.
Though Arkansas State has been advertised as an aggressive pass-rushing team, it was disappointing how the Trojan line failed to cope with their blitzing.
On the plus side, the line tightened up in the second half and recovered enough to bump their grade up to a D as they cleared the way for Trojan running backs to gain 228 yards with an 8.8 yards per carry average.
. Standout. Chad Wheeler

B-. Bob Connelly’s offensive line did not inspire much confidence, especially in light of the immense skepticism which followed his hiring at USC.
In terms of play calling, Clay Helton’s offense put up seven touchdowns though the sync of the unit was what you would expect from the season opener.
Overall, there was good discipline in terms of penalties, a lot of rotation and little to complain about from the head coach.
. Standout. Bob Connelly. COACHING

What say you Trojan fans? Let us know how you feel about the offensive performance during USC vs. Arkansas State in the comments below and vote in the poll.

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