USC football has fourth-quarter magic, but smoke elsewhere
USC football made it through Week 2 of their COVID-adjusted season with a 34-30 win over Arizona.
It wasn’t the blowout oddsmakers predicted or the Trojans undoubtedly hoped for.
Aside from the obvious citation of “a win is a win” what were the takeaways from Tucson?
Kedon Slovis is a fourth-quarter monster
Move over Sam Darnold, USC has a new fourth-quarter maestro. Kedon Slovis simply comes alive when the game is on the line.
Against Arizona, the sophomore completed 13-of-15 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.
By now, it’s clear that wasn’t a one-off as he produced a similarly impressive performance to close out the ASU game. But this isn’t new for 2020 either. Slovis has always been this good in the fourth quarter.
In his Trojan career, Slovis has thrown 103 passes. He’s completed 80 of them for a pass completion rating of 77.6 percent. Those passes have tallied 1,002 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Let’s narrow that down to games that were definitely in the balance in the fourth quarter and on the road, as was the case against Arizona. Slovis’ combined numbers against BYU, Notre Dame and Colorado last year, plus Arizona this year, give him a fourth-quarter passer rating of 192.31.
Two of those games resulted in wins. One was an overtime loss and the remaining one was a loss to a Top 10 team. If not for Slovis, there’s every likelihood each would have ended in defeat.
There is plenty of concern to be directed towards Slovis’ wobbly passing and USC’s all-around performance early in games. However, there’s no doubt the Trojans have a game-winner at the helm when they need him.