The USC Defense
The USC Defense had one of the worst first three quarters of a game that they have had in a long time. They were giving up rushes up the middle, on the outside and could not guard a crossing route to save their lives.
Now, they do deserve a little bit of slack for the myriad injuries that have affected that side of the ball, but no matter who is in the game, you expect them to be able to tackle. USC struggled with that, which is why they are on the dud list.
However, now that we’ve talked about what they did not do, they deserve recognition for what they did do, which is hang tough for four quarters, fight to the bitter end and give their offense a chance to get their feet under them.
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It looked like Colorado was going to smoke USC for a little bit there, but after struggling all year on third down, the USC defense was able to keep Colorado from converting the entire second half.
Fans like to give Clancy Pendergast the business, and I like to give Helton his, but this team fights for them, and you cannot deny it.
USC once again racked up a bunch of yards and scored a bunch of points and if you just look at the box score you might think criticism is unfounded. But if you watched this game, at what point did you see a USC drive that made you think, “Wow, that was a beautifully designed play” or see an adjustment to what Colorado was trying to do all night?
Only one time comes to mind, when USC was in the red zone and Colorado was showing the double A gap blitz. They motioned Kenan Christon out of the backfield and hit him for an easy swing pass for the touchdown. That was the only time it felt like USC was taking advantage of what the Buffs were trying to do to them on offense.
The rest of the game was the same out-of-sync offensive play calling and weirdly-timed runs that have plagued talented USC offenses since 2017.
It felt like the biggest plays of the game were fantastic catches by Trojan receivers, like Drake London, or the offensive line giving Slovis enough time to hold the ball long enough for St. Brown or Pittman to clear the defense.
It just feels so vanilla, especially when you’re watching Colorado on the other side figure out how to get the ball into Laviska Shenault’s hands as often as they can.
It’s been eight games, sure the numbers are better than Tee Martins’s but I can’t say it looks better or looks more smooth or effective. It feels just as streaky as it has in the past.
Again, how is that the refs don’t handle the substitutions better? It’s also pretty sad that there is absolutely zero consistency with roughing the passer penalties. And the refs ruined Caleb Tremblay’s perfect play against a reverse with a questionable horse collar call.
It seems like week after week, year after year the Pac-12 conference has the worst officials in football. It is a shame.