USC vs. Oregon Report Card: Grading the Trojan Defense


USC vs. Oregon was a case-study in how not to defend against the pass, as the Ducks’ Vernon Adams torched the Trojan secondary en route to a 48-28 beating.

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Here’s how each defensive unit graded out against the Ducks:

Rasheem Green. DEFENSIVE LINE. C. The front line did well enough to limit the Oregon rushing attack early and late, holding the Ducks to just eight yards in the first quarter and 85 in the first, third and fourth quarters. Trouble is they allowed Oregon to rack up 86 yards in the second quarter alone to the tine of 9.6 yards per carry as they built their lead. During that time, the Trojan pass rush was subpar with the four-man rush failing to put sufficient pressure on Adams. USC’s four sacks were by linebackers on the blitz in the second half. On the plus side, Rasheem Green saw increased involvement, logging five tackles and a half-tackle for loss.. Standout

LINEBACKER. D. Olajuwon Tucker led USC in tackles on his debut as the starting middle linebacker, in addition to a sack and a half on the day. Porter Gustin added a sack and a half of his own. Unfortunately that couldn’t undo the poor performance by Scott Felix and the linebacking corps as a whole. Early blitzing proved ineffective, which had devastating implications for the Trojans’ ability to defend the pass, and linebackers were not involved enough in stopping the run, especially at the second level.. Standout. Su'a Cravens

Chris Hawkins nabbed an interception on the opening Oregon drive, but that just about ends the positive things you can say about the Trojan secondary. Duck receivers weren’t just left open, they were left wide open. Iman Marshall was burned for two touchdown passes while the entire secondary seemed to have fallen asleep in failing to cover Evan Baylis over the middle for another score. Making matters worse, even covered receivers were able to have their way with the secondary. Dwayne Stanford made that clear when he brushed off double-coverage to nab a touchdown.. Standout. Chris Hawkins. SECONDARY. F

Justin Wilcox. COACHING. F. Ezekiel Elliott caused a stir when he criticized the Ohio State coaching staff for not putting the team in the right positions to win. That criticism could be applied with ease to the Trojan coaches, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. One blown assignment is one thing, but the half-dozen touchdown passes from Adams came via glaring mistakes from a secondary that was ill-prepared to face the Ducks. The task of preparing a defense without Cameron Smith, Lamar Dawson and Leon McQuay III was certainly a challenge but there was nothing about Wilcox’s gameplan which worked to negate Oregon’s firepower.. Standout

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

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