USC vs. Colorado Report Card: Grading the Trojan Offense

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Nov 13, 2015; Boulder, CO, USA; USC Trojans running back Justin Davis (22) runs the ball during the second half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. The Trojans won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

USC vs. Colorado featured a disappointing offensive performance as the Trojans struggled to impose their will on the Buffaloes for most of the game.

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Here’s how each offensive unit graded out against the Buffaloes:

Standout. Cody Kessler. QUARTERBACK. C. Though Cody Kessler’s numbers — 17-of-27 with 204 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception — finished out respectable enough, the Trojan quarterback’s performance was far from perfect. His accuracy was off for much of the first half, culminating in an interception on a miscommunication with Steve Mitchell. He also took two third down sacks unnecessarily.

B. Ronald Jones II was largely bottled up by the Colorado defense. Limited to 3.2 yards per carry, the freshman phenom did not enjoy the same kinds of running lanes he’d been given in past outings, totaling just 61 yards on the night. Luckily for the Trojans, Justin Davis was on top of his game. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry, gained 85 total yards and caught three passes for 28 yards as well. On USC’s final clock-killing drive, Davis bounced outside on third and eight to convert the first down and effectively end the game. Jahleel Pinner’s touchdown grab was a highlight for the unit.. Standout. Justin Davis. RUNNING BACK

B-. JuJu Smith Schuster had his least productive game of the season, but still managed to haul in a 36-yard touchdown to extend USC’s lead in the fourth quarter. Mitchell was effective on slants but his miscommunication with Kessler resulted in an interception. It was especially nice to see Tyler Petite and Taylor McNamara involved as the latter nabbed a touchdown. Still, it’s hard to call USC’s receiving corps formidable as a whole.. Standout. JuJu Smith-Schuster. RECEIVER

Colorado’s defensive front had been gashed by just about every team they faced before USC came to town, yet the Trojan offensive line struggled to get consistent push up front in the run game and allowed pressure to rush Kessler too often. USC’s running backs were not nearly as effective on Friday, in large part thanks to the rarity of clear running lanes.. Standout. Damien Mama. OFFENSIVE LINE. D

D. Clay Helton continues to prefer horizontal runs in short yardage situations despite struggles on the offensive line when guards are pulled. More importantly, Helton’s offense was sluggish at best or inadequately-prepared at worst to contend with a less-than-dominant Colorado defense. Helton does deserve credit for the way his players have responded in the second half of games at least.. Standout. Clay Helton. COACHING

What say you Trojan fans? Vote in the poll and let us know how you feel about the offensive performance during USC vs. Colorado in the comments below.

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