USC football's defense was under quite a bit of scrutiny this offseason, and didn't get off to the best first half in Week 1 against Rice. They had a pick-six from Safety Calen Bullock, but also gave up 14 points to an awful Rice team that only won four games last year in Conference USA...Luke McCaffrey had five catches for 51 yards, and the run defense was lacking.
However, the D had bigger plans for the second half. It was refreshing to see. They knew that the one thing they did great in the first half was pick off a pass and run it for six. So, they decided to go for it again. LB and captain Shane Lee picked off ANOTHER tipped pass and ran it back for six in Rice's first drive of the second half.
Bullock's 93-yard run, as well as Lee's 40-yard run, however, was just not enough. SC's defense came back out the very next drive and picked off yet ANOTHER pass and ran it back for a score. This time, it was LB Ralen Goforth for 31 yards.
USC football has to be proud of how they didn't even need to rely on their offense to score all day on Saturday.
In fact, in the very next drive, USC football's defense gave the offense a 'gimme' opportunity to score. They picked off yet another pass; this time from DB Xamarion Gordon. The offense then got the ball at the Rice 34, and punched it in just four plays later. This time, the score was on a connection between QB Jordan Addison and WR1 Jordan Addison.
The defense proved what they're capable of when it comes to creating big plays for the offense. In fact, the defense BECAME the offense for the first two drives of the second half. They already got a start to that in the second quarter, but couldn't get enough. It was a no fly zone for Rice, and both the defensive backs AND linebackers had a say in that.