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USC vs. Stanford Report Card: Grading the Trojan Offense

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USC vs. Stanford may have been a nightmare on defense, but the Trojan offense offered their share of production — just not when it mattered most.

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

B-. Kessler, like all quarterbacks, is graded on two scales — the numbers and the outcome. In terms of the numbers, Kessler did just fine. In fact, his 272 yards on 25-of-32 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions reflects rather well on him. His offense scored 31 points and that should have been enough to win the game. Unfortunately, it wasn’t and when it comes to the outcome he failed to produce when it really mattered. In the fourth quarter he never got the Trojans into the endzone. He also mismanaged the clock late in the game, settling for dump offs when time was limited.. Standout. Cody Kessler. QUARTERBACK

B. Tre Madden averaged 7.1 yards per carry. Justin Davis averaged 5.8. Dominic Davis had a 19-yard run. Yet, the Trojan running backs were head-scratchingly uninvolved in the second half. In fact, Madden did not have a carry in the final two quarters, while Davis had just four.. Standout. Tre Madden. RUNNING BACK

Standout. JuJu Smith-Schuster. RECEIVER. A. Smith-Schuster was magnificent. With eight receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown, the MVP of the offense was undisputed. He also laid a highlight block to free up Cody Kessler on a scramble. Aside from Smith-Schuster the receivers were solid. Six players caught more than one pass, including Steven Mitchell who nabbed two touchdowns at the goal line. Darreus Rogers had four catches, one of which was a tough fourth down conversion grab and another in which he fought for yards down the field for 21 yards.

OFFENSIVE LINE. B-. The Trojans’ opening drive was a showcase for Zach Banner, who led the way on run after run as USC made it look exceptionally easy to score on Stanford. Unfortunately it would not stay that way as the Trojan front did not do as good a job clearing the way on limited rushing attempts late as they did early. In pass protection, Kessler was sacked just once, but the line continued to be vulnerable to delayed blitzes.
. Standout. Zach Banner

Steve Sarkisian. COACHING. C. Steve Sarkisian and Clay Helton had the offense rolling in the first half. For that they get plenty of credit. However, as much as the defensive struggles will take the headlines, the Trojan offense was not productive enough to make the difference in the second half when they got their hands on the ball. Where this grade really takes a hit is on the final drive. With two minutes left in the game and a two-score deficit to overcome, Sarkisian’s clock management was questionable at best. He declined to take his time outs, then decided not to kick a field goal to give USC a chance to recover an onside kick with enough time left on the clock.
. Standout

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

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