Sep 5, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans receiver Isaac Whitney (15) carries the ball against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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First Take… USC wide outs Darreus Rogers and Isaac Whitney each have as many catches as part-time receiver Adoree’ Jackson. Their combined receiving yards on the season does not even match Jackson’s.
But don’t let anyone tell you they have not been big-time players for the Trojans in the first third of the 2015 season. They’re just doing it in less headline-grabbing fashion than the phenomenal No. 2.
After all, there are no stats for touchdown-creating blocks. That is what Rogers and Whitney have delivered and they deserve recognition for their contributions.
To refresh memories, Rogers provided the cover which allowed Tre Madden to cap off his 65-yard touchdown run against Arkansas State. He sealed his block on the bubble screen which saw Steven Mitchell score a 6-yard touchdown vs. Stanford. It was also Rogers who provided the hit which sprang JuJu Smith-Schuster’s first scoring grab against the Cardinal on a 54-yard catch and run.
Unfortunately Rogers came up with a hamstring injury versus ASU, but there were other receivers to pick up the slack.
If you back most of USC’s scoring plays from the first four games, chances are you’ll see Whitney putting in work as a blocker downfield. Specifically, he too cleared the way for Mitchell’s first touchdown against Stanford. On Saturday, Whitney’s block opened the door for another Mitchell touchdown on a bubble screen to put USC up 14-0 on the Sun Devil.
It’s not just Rogers and Whitney who have stood out for this reason either.
Against ASU, Mitchell provided the key block to complete Jackson’s 80-yard touchdown reception. Later, when all eyes were on Jackson’s mesmerizing 45-yard scamper, it was easy to miss that Jalen Greene supplied the initial block to give him space to run.
Wide receivers coach Tee Martin may be more well known for his recruiting prowess, but the way he has gotten his unit to buy into their nitty-gritty role as downfield blockers has been worth noting.
And the results have been visible. In all of 2014, USC generated 60 plays of 30 or more yards. Through just four games — two of which were against tough conference foes — the Trojans have already covered half of that total.
And Ten USC Football News Links…
- Reign of Troy: USC re-gained some ground in both the AP and coaches polls, rising two spots after the win.
- OC Register: Some of the words USC players have used to describe Adoree’ Jackson: electric, savage, incredible and special.
- OC Register: Michael Lev’s five takeaways from Saturday include road performances, turnovers, Adoree’ Jackson magic, strong QB play and remaining questions.
- Reign of Troy: How did the Trojan offense grade against ASU? The receivers earned top marks.
- Reign of Troy: The USC defense held ASU to just 14 points. Here’s how they faired in the report card.
- ESPN: Cody Kessler earned a helmet sticker for his performance.
- USCFootball.com: Dan Weber has notes and stats from Saturday’s game, including the note that USC played 13 freshman to ASU’s three.
- Sports Illustrated: Among Colin Becht’s three takeaways from the college football weekend was the emergence of contenders in the Pac-12. USC is among them.
- Fox Sports: The Trojans are also among the big winners from Week 4 in Fox Sports’ reckoning.
- Reign of Troy: How can USC improve during the bye week? Tarik LaCour offers four areas for improvement, including cutting down on penalties, working on penalties, finding an offensive identity and including Adoree’ Jackson in that plan.
Stat of the Day:
Of ASU’s 182 rushing yards, 90 were gained on 3 plays in first quarter. One of those was for 61 yards.
Tweet of the Day:
More from Reign of Troy
- Markese Stepp enters transfer portal intending to leave USC football
- USC football’s Alijah Vera-Tucker declares for NFL Draft
- USC football adds Xavion Alford as transfer from Texas
- USC Podcast: RoT Radio Ep. 396 on the Football Season’s Fallout
- Talanoa Hufanga named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, USC football with five first-teamers