USC Football: Trojans Get a Focused Win vs. Idaho


When you look at the 2015 USC football schedule, the Week 2 game against Idaho isn’t the first that jumps out at you.

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In fact, it was perhaps the only game on the schedule that you could confidently call a sure-win, something backed up by the Trojans’ 59-9 drubbing of the Vandals on Saturday night.

But that doesn’t mean it didn’t have it’s own unique set of challenges.

“These games can be difficult, when you’re supposed to win by a bunch of points,” said head coach Steve Sarkisian. “And with us starting Pac-12 play next week against Stanford, you can see how teams can come out not ready to play.”

On a day in which FCS school Jacksonville State took No. 6 Auburn to overtime, Toledo beat No. 18 Arkansas and Arkansas State nearly stunned No. 21 Missouri, the Trojans surely were ready.

Sep 12, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler (6) throws a pass against the Idaho Vandals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Like a role-playing video game, USC had in-mission objectives and got them done.

“Sark always preaches that we’re always playing a faceless opponent,” said running back Justin Davis. “Pretty much, we were playing against ourselves this game.”

They had to protect quarterback Cody Kessler after giving up five sacks in the first half of the season opener against Arkansas State. The offensive line completed the challenge by not giving up a single sack.

They had to finish. They did so by limiting to Idaho to just one touchdown, while keeping another clean sheet in the fourth quarter.

They had to keep up intensity. They did so by adding a few exclamation points in the form of third quarter touchdowns.

They did what they had to do, as they were expected to do, against one of the worst teams in all of FBS.

After taking the opening kickoff, USC marched down the field on a seven-play, 75-yard drive in just over two minutes. They practically cloned that drive three more times in the first half alone, while mixing in a one-play, 50-yard touchdown drive.

All told, the Trojans finished the night with 737 yards of total offense, their most since the explosive 2005 team.

With the mission passed, and a Sun Belt ‘preseason’ of sorts completed, the focus now turns to Pac-12 rival Stanford.

The Trojans have beaten the Cardinal two times running and while a Northwestern upset in Week 1 leaves David Shaw’s team of uncertainty, the series has been extremely tight of late.

To think that USC will waltz to a win like they have in the first two weeks just isn’t reasonable. It will be a test, and one that the Trojans will have to be focused for.

“It’s going to be a big game,” said Zach Banner. “But we got 24 hours to chill and enjoy the win before we get to that tomorrow.”

Big game indeed. Perhaps then, we’ll know just how good this 8th-ranked USC team is.

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