There is an unsettling pattern forming here and here’s hoping it changes soon.
Last week the Pac-12 and their reputation for not always getting it right was a talking point last week after a questionable call on Darnold’s second interception. This week the narrative continued to grow as blatant penalties were missed.
Unfortunately, there were some missed flags by both teams. However, the one that stood out the most was the roughing the passer call on Porter Gustin. While the whistle had blown and the play was dead, Gustin did make contact with Chryst. But didn’t throw him to the ground and it was extremely difficult to hear the whistle. Let them play ref.
Stanford’s Offensive Line:
For a week, there was nothing but talk about how great Stanford’s offensive line was. Saturday night in the Coliseum, USC made them look pedestrian for four quarters. While Bryce Love did hit a home run early in the first quarter with a 75-yard touchdown run, the rest of the night the Cardinal backfield was filled with Trojans.
Keller Chryst was hit constantly and couldn’t get into a rhythm. Stanford couldn’t get the power run game going either.
The Cardinal were many people’s sleeper pick in the Pac-12 North at the beginning of the season, but if their offensive line continues to struggle like they did Saturday, Washington will be going back to the title game.
USC’s Handsy Defensive Backs:
USC’s defense did a phenomenal job against Stanford at home in the Coliseum. It feels a bit unfair to harp on them considering the job they did, but this problem has plagued them since fall camp.
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The Trojan secondary plays physical man-to-man defense, and with that, there are going to be holding and defensive pass interference penalties. especially against a team like Stanford who likes to trot out 6-foot-8 tight ends all over the field.
The defensive backfield just needs to do a better job on the blatant penalties, especially the ones where the receiver has no shot at catching the ball. Keep up the physicality, just be smarter about putting the hands on the opponents.
The panelists who picked Stanford to win this week on pregame shows. They shouldn’t necessarily be ashamed of picking what appeared to be a known commodity over a somewhat unknown one, especially when Stanford has dominated this rivalry as of late and dominated the Rice Owls week 0. Having said all that…shame on them.