Caleb Williams' teammates can't back up his record-breaking Cotton Bowl performance
USC Football QB Caleb Williams played out of his mind in the Cotton Bowl, setting the record for most Cotton Bowl touchdown passes with five. He completed 37 of 52 passes for 462 pass yards. He only turned the ball over once. He only had 10 rushing yards, and there were questions as to whether he was 100% healthy or not, but realistically, he still played an outstanding game.
It was the defense and special teams that erased his 45-30 point lead that he gave the Trojans with 4:30 left to go in the game. SC's defense immediately gave up a two-play touchdown drive.
SC's special teams (Mario Williams) then muffed a kick return out of bounds at the Trojans' 1-yard line when USC got the ball back, and Austin Jones ended up getting tackled in the end zone for a safety on second and 10. To top it all off, USC's defense allowed a game-winning touchdown drive right after that in just three minutes and 11 seconds.
None of the game was on Williams, who proved once again why he was deserving as the Heisman Trophy winner this year. He did it all without his No. 1 WR in Jordan Addison who was sitting out, and his two best offensive linemen who were not healthy enough to play. He put the team on his back, but the rest of his teammates looked completely unmotivated to play.
Even in times when USC Football's offense sputtered, it wasn't on Caleb Williams.
For instance, the safety was of course on USC Football's offensive line (although it's important to add that the coaching staff should have had the team line up under center). Williams had the one bad interception, but was incredible throughout the rest of the game.
There were questions of how motivated SC was going to be to play in this game, and that's something that's fair. However, when the quarterback plays at a historic level and the group still loses, then his teammates most certainly owe Williams an apology.
Williams finished his Heisman season with 4,537 pass yards, 9.1 yards per pass attempt, 52 total touchdowns (42 passing), and just five interceptions. He also added on 382 rush yards.
If he has the ball for 39:49 in a game (like he did today), there's no excuse for the team not to win the game. His performance will not be forgotten, but the squad around him didn't give him the chance to get the W as well.