USC football offense sputters, defense shuts up critics to win at OSU

Tuli Tuipulotu, USC Football, USC Trojans
Tuli Tuipulotu, USC Football, USC Trojans / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

USC football's offense struggled from start to (almost) finish on Saturday night. Only putting up 17 points, Oregon State gave SC's receivers absolutely nothing all game long. Jordan Addison had a total of three catches, but SC's struggles in the passing game were also partly on themselves. Caleb Williams had a tough time even on some throws that were open, and that he was more than capable of making.

Williams went a brutal 16 out of 36 for just 180 yards. He had just one score, and had a tough time producing on the ground as well--carrying the ball nine times for just 27 yards. The only thing he did well was protect the football, especially when the offensive line did not look good at all. Even when USC was running the ball well in general at times, they went away from it far too much.

Travis Dye toted the rock 17 times for 113 yards. That's 6.6 yards per carry. Still, SC's offense couldn't get anything going. It even led to the squad being down 14-10 with 4:35 left. To be fair to the guys on offense, they did come through for a game-winning drive.

It took 11 plays and an epic fourth-down conversion via a push over the first down marker by Brett Neilon when Williams was wrapped up by the defense on a seven-yard rush, but they still got it. Five plays later, Addison finally broke free and caught a game-winning 21-yard touchdown pass. It left the Beavers with just 1:07 left in the game.

USC football's defense came up clutch yet again, though.

USC football had not only given up 14 points all night, but they had forced three interceptions. Then came a fourth, this time by Max Williams, on third and 10. USC kneeled it down once and won the ballgame. Shout out to Eric Gentry and his 7'1.25" wingspan for deflecting the ball into Max's hands. He had a pick in the contest too. So did Ceyair Wright and Mekhi Blackmon.

That's now 14(!) turnovers forced on the year. This defense was expected to get torched on Saturday night, but they had other plans. OSU only had 320 yards on the day. As bad as USC's offense was, they still generated 37 more yards than the Beavers. The defense only allowed five third-down conversions by Oregon State out of 13.

Next. Game-by-game predictions for USC in 2022. dark

USC may have struggled on the road, in a hostile environment, against easily their best opponent of the season, but they made incredibly clutch plays on both sides of the ball to win the game. In particular, the defense went nuts all night. Talk about quieting critics for a group that earned their respect in Week 4.