USC vs. Arizona 2017: Studs and duds from Trojans’ big Pac-12 South win

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images /
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The USC Offense

Now those same people who saw USC defense on studs and almost freaked out are probably wondering how USC’s offense could be on duds. The reason for the offense being down here is simple as well: the game should have been over at halftime.

USC should have put up 35 points in the first half and led 35-6 at halftime. Instead of biting nails over the Trojans blowing a lead, the talk should have been, how long until Matt Fink comes in? Or when was the last time USC scored 60 points in a game?

Instead, USC blew two scoring opportunities early on, one on a terrible fourth down call, the other on Sam Darnold’s obligatory turnover.

Also, the playcalling in the third quarter was head-scratching. USC was moving the ball quite easily on the ground, and as a result, Arizona began stacking the box.

No one wanted Darnold to start dropping straight back and throwing more, but the Arizona defensive backs were playing so much zone coverage, the wide receiver screens were there all night. The Wildcats were hardly even shifting when USC had trips formation to one side or the other. Again, the WR screen game was open all night.

Instead, USC continued to do even something everyone wanted, like running the ball, the hard way.

Chuma Edoga

The normally rock-solid right tackle for the men of Troy had one of his worst games in recent memory, including a handful of holding penalties, some of which were on big plays for the USC offense. A bad decision to pass on a pass rusher in crunch time, to someone who was not there, was another of the lowlights for Edoga.

It was unclear if it was a normal rotation or the mistakes that were made, but the right tackle missed some snaps on the important drives in the fourth quarter. To his credit though, Edoga did get back onto the field and lead the way on the Jones II touchdown that put the game away.

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The Ref Quarter

How many times have the Pac-12 officials been on the duds list? It is really moving past the laughing-to-keep-from-crying acceptance phase, to the downright-ridiculous-and-needs-to-be-changed-because-the-product-is-suffering phase. With a number of reviews, some necessary, some frivolous, the third quarter of USC vs. Arizona will be forever known as The Ref Quarter.

The worst part about The Ref Quarter wasn’t so much that they had to use replay to get the calls correct, but the fact that they had to take several minutes on each one when they were not that difficult a call to begin with.

The last time the refs were on the duds list, we talked about investigating ways make them better. After experiencing The Ref Quarter on Saturday, something seriously needs to be done about their quality. It is bad enough that the flagship programs in the conference are playing late in the evening. Combining that with so many bad calls leading to replays and delaying the action is going to affect the Pac-12 After Dark brand.