Nov 7, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats fullback Johnny Jackson (30) celebrates after a 9-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter as Southern California Trojans safety Chris Hawkins (4) and cornerback Adoree Jackson (2) react at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Who were the duds?
The First Quarter: USC’s first quarter was as flat as one could be. Facing a heavy underdog, the Trojans clearly came into the game not quite awake. Four drives in the first period yielded two first downs and zero points. Cody Kessler was sacked twice and Clay Helton’s squad looked in dire need of some energy.
USC’s Offensive Line: Though USC was able to work their way to a win on the ground, the lack of a comfortable victory can be linked back to poor play on the offensive line. Prior to facing the Trojans, Arizona had generated just 17 sacks on the season, so this was not a team one might expect to dominate the battle up front. Yet the Wildcats were able to get consistent pressure on Kessler. That pressure limited what USC was able to do in the passing game and set the Trojans back in the aforementioned first quarter.
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
Rich Rodriguez’ Decision-Making: With the game still very much hanging in the balance, Rich Rodriguez made the head scratching decision of going for a fourth down at midfield in the third quarter. USC had just missed a field goal and the Wildcats still held a three-point advantage, so the risk was hardly necessary. The Trojans stuffed the run, got the ball back and took the lead on the next drive.
USC’s Secondary: John Plattenburg did take home an interception, so it wasn’t all bad. Still, USC’s secondary was second best for most of the contest versus Anu Solomon and his receivers. The sophomore quarterback had his best game of the season statistically with 352 yards on 31-of-46 passing along with three touchdowns through the air. Chris Hawkins was repeatedly beat in one-on-one coverage while Adoree’ Jackson, Kevon Seymour and Iman Marshall were each abused at different points during the night.
Who were your studs and duds from USC vs. Arizona? Sound off in the comments below.