USC Football: Studs and duds from Trojans’ win at Arizona

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /
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Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC football got a much-needed win on the road at Arizona Saturday night, but it wasn’t always pretty, particularly late. Here’s who showed out and who didn’t.

Quick Recap. MORE USC-ARIZ

Clay Helton’s USC football program jumped out to a 24-0 lead at Arizona, and then hung on for dear life. Who excelled? Who didn’t? Let’s get into the studs and duds from Week 5:


Aca’Cedric Ware

Death. Taxes. Ced Ware running all over Arizona. For the third time in four years, the senior hit the century mark against the Wildcats, racking up 173 yards on 21 carries, including touchdown runs of 69 and 26 yards. It was a notable uptick in his production, given how had just two touches in last week’s win over Washington State.

The Defense

Arizona didn’t have an offensive play across the 50-yard line in the first half and save for a couple beautiful deep strikes late, the semi-injured Khalil Tate’s never looked right. USC held the Wildcats to a sack-adjusted 2.8 yards per carry and forced third-and-longs all night, with an average distance to gain of 7.2 yards. In turn, it allowed defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast to bring a variety of pressures on third down, which rattled Tate to the tune of a 20 percent (2 of 10) conversion rate on third down pass plays, including seven incompletions and a sack. The result? A lack of prolonged drives or any sort of rhythm for the Cats, two categories USC’s defense struggled with against Washington State.

Ajene Harris & Isaiah Langley

USC’s secondary has put in some rough performances this season, including Ajene Harris’s struggles at Texas and Isaiah Langley and Greg Johnson both being picked on by Washington State’s Gardner Minshew last week. Against Arizona, Harris and Langley bounced back with two solid performances. Langley made major strides as a tackler in space, wrangling in his man with regularity to limit yards after catch. For Harris, it was an active night in pass defense, including a spectacular one-handed pass breakup.

JT Daniels

It wasn’t a perfect night by any means for JT Daniels (16-of-24 passing for 197 yards), as he lost a fumble and continued his struggles to lead wide open receivers on the deep ball. But it was another week in which the true freshman limited his mistakes and displayed strong decision-making skills. He didn’t throw any wince-inducing balls in tight spots, distributed the ball fairly and even got his tight ends involved, targeting Josh Falo and Tyler Petite five times combined.

USC fan Marcelo Teson

Talk about calling it…here’s what was tweeted just as Arizona scored their first touchdown to bring USC’s lead to 24-7.