USC vs. Oregon State 2017: Studs and duds from the Trojans win

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images /
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Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images /


Tee Martin

It seems like every time USC gets into trouble offensively there is a play call that leaves you scratching your head. While it is most certainly unfair to blame to Tee Martin for the ball slipping out of Darnold’s hand, better execution cannot always be the shield, especially when a lot of the troublesome play calls seem to be in the name of ideological balance.

Achieving a balance between passing and rushing is a nice thing to preach, however, it is not an identity.

USC is six games into the season and it is quite clear, that if the Trojans are to win a Pac-12 title, they need to be a run-first team. It is understandable wanting to take advantage of an elite, Heisman-level quarterback. However, USC also has elite, Heisman-level talent in the backfield, and it is underutilized. While 37 rushing attempts and 36 passing attempts may be in line with the balanced philosophy, trying to pigeonhole a team into absolute balance is going to get USC beat.

Sam Darnold

The stat line looks impressive with Darnold going 23-of-35 for 316 yards and three touchdowns. On paper it seems like Darnold was back to the level he has been expected to play at. Unfortunately Darnold threw an interception, should have thrown another and fumbled the ball twice.

He also missed multiple throws and once again scrambled out of a clean pocket. Darnold is still a young quarterback and it is clear that a lot of people tend to forget that as his highlight reel grows. But, if USC is going to make a serious push down the stretch to win the Pac-12 and a potential play off birth he must be more careful with the football.

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Oregon State Beavers

The Beavers came into the game Saturday against the Trojans ranked last or near last in nearly all the major defensive categories in the Pac-12. The Oregon State defense, played some of their best football all year against USC. The problem was that there were continual lapses that kept them out of this game.

Whether it was a taunting penalty on a big play downfield, fumbling inside the ten yard-line or throwing the ball away on fourth down, the Beavers struggled.

If Oregon State was able to capitalize on any of their turnovers they could have made this game much more uncomfortable for USC than it was.