Clay Helton’s USC football team won their third-straight road game Saturday night, with another performance at Cal highlighted by the Trojans’ biggest playmakers.
If you were waiting for a 60-minute night from the 2019 USC football team, you finally got it Saturday night in Berkeley. The Trojans roared to a 41-17 win on the backs another prolific passing night and never relented on defense.
Who excelled? Who didn’t? Let’s get to it in this week’s Studs & Duds…
It was another strong start for the true freshman quarterback. He did everything he’s been praised for all season, using his timing instincts to exploit the Cal secondary downfield. Even opposing head coach Justin Wilcox noted it in his postgame press conference, saying Slovis’s patience made life difficult for the Bear defensive backs. They were simply at mercy of the USC receivers due to the stress Slovis’s bought time put on them. All told, the freshman was 29-of-35 passing for 406 yards, with four touchdowns, hitting the 400-yard mark for the third time this season.
USC’s senior receiver is making a late run at the Biletnikoff Award. He turned in an 11-catch, 180-yard night in Berkeley to go over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Pittman did it by winning jump balls, being deceptively nimble with the ball in his hands and consistently finding ways to get open on a night when Cal keyed in on him due to Tyler Vaughns being limited.
The development of Drake London over the course of the season is second only to that of Slovis for the Trojans. He’s gone from a depth receiver early in the year to a key contributor with nights like Saturday against Cal. The true freshman caught six passes for a career-high 111 yards, along with a game-sealing touchdown in the third quarter.
The Offensive Line
As strong as Kedon Slovis is in the pocket, using his patience and instincts to shift the launch point and buy time for his receivers, it didn’t help he was saddled with another night of poor play from the offensive line. They allowed three sacks in pass protection and routinely had Slovis evading pressure. In the run game, the line was nowhere to be found.
Stephen Carr and Kenan Christon
USC’s two-headed backfield in Berkeley was stuck in neutral for much of the night, unable to find running lanes and provide a stable mode of attack to supplement the big night through the air. While Carr’s return to the lineup after a hamstring was a welcomed sight for the injury-depleted Trojans, the backs rushed for just 3.3 yards per carry. The 56 team rushing yards was the second-worst total of the season.