After Week 2, it seemed as though USC’s receivers had worked out the rust and jitters when it comes to catching the football. Unfortunately, the problem reared its ugly head again versus Texas, with even more potentially devastating effect.
Tight end Tyler Petite dropped a fourth down conversion attempt. Steven Mitchell dropped a pass over the middle. Deontay Burnett dropped another. Stephen Carr dropped a screen. Velus Jones dropped a deep ball.
Most egregious of them all, Jalen Greene dropped a pin-perfect slant that popped out of his hands and into the waiting finger tips of Texas’ DeShon Elliott, who returned it for a touchdown near the close of the first half.
Three things spared the receivers a more harsh grade:
First, Deontay Burnett delivered with eight catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns, the first of which was another spectacular diving reception in the end zone.
Second, Steven Mitchell continued to prove his worth as a second option and all-around force. He had six catches for 90 yards, including the one which set up USC’s game-tying field goal as regulation ended. On top of that, his killer block sprung Ronald Jones II on his end-of-half touchdown run.
Finally, four catches for Tyler Vaughns was a good start towards integrating him into the offense.
As a bonus, Velus Jones Jr. only had one catch, but he was also a key figure with solid kick returns on the night.