USC football’s studs and duds from a weirdly-comfortable win over Utah

USC football receiver Bru McCoy. (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
USC football receiver Bru McCoy. (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /
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USC football quarterback Kedon Slovis. (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
USC football quarterback Kedon Slovis. (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /

The duds for USC football vs. Utah

Ball security

There were five fumbles between the two teams on Saturday night. Three of those were lost. Credit to both defenses for going after the ball, but frankly most of those fumbles were because of poor ball security. Kedon Slovis gave up a scoop-and-score when he didn’t protect the ball in traffic. Later he executed an unintentional statue of liberty when the ball slipped his grasp and Vavae Malepeai plucked it out of the air. Kenan Christon did his best Joe McKnight impression by essentially dribbling the ball on one play.

Kedon Slovis’ arm

Speaking of Slovis…For a quarterback who led his team to a comfortable victory, the scrutiny of USC’s passer reached intense levels. Every pass was dissected to determine if it can be used as evidence to show Slovis’s arm isn’t right. Some of that attention is unfair as perfectly acceptable —if imperfect— throws get the “wobbly” tag. However, the concern is real and valid. Slovis doesn’t look like the same quarterback who slung it around last year. Whether it’s mechanical with his arm or mental, or both, something is definitely off.

USC’s running back depth

On a night when USC was missing leading rusher Markese Stepp, you’d have thought Stephen Carr would be in line for extra carries. Instead, the senior back was nowhere to be found. He made a brief appearance in the second quarter but had just one carry for minus-three yards. It was later revealed he too is dealing with an injury. That means USC is down to just Vavae Malepeia and Kenan Christon in the running back rotation.

ESPN’s cameras

Maybe this is unfair because when ESPN’s cameras went out it provided one of the most bizarre moments of football broadcasting in memory. Broadcasters Dave Flemming and Rod Gilmore, who were not on-site for the game, were forced to awkwardly make chitchat and read off the play-by-play sheet as two drives went unseen. It was bad for TV but great for comedy. Still when a broadcast loses their feed for two whole drives during a game fans cannot attend, it’s a pretty big dud.

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