Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Props to UVA for scheduling this home and home. They knew SC was on a run and they booked it anyway. UVA has a lot of talent to replace on defense so while they were better last season they have a lot of ground to make up in the coming seasons.
So where to start...
The Defense lived up all the hype today with a lot of pressure on Virginia QB Peter Lalich. The forced 4 turnovers an outside of stretch from the late 1st to early 2nd quarter they did everything we could have expected from them. Clay Matthews had the line of the game.
USC defensive end Clay Matthews came off the bench and tied for a team-high with six tackles, forced a fumble, recovered two fumbles and even roughed the passer to complete his performance.
So just like we thought the defense did exactly what they were supposed to do.
The big surprise was the offense. Yes, they were going up a brand new defensive line but they still had to protect Sanchez. Lewis and Herber were key in making blocks on both McKnight's 10-yard TD run and Gable's 33-yard TD run. The offensive also did not allow a sack. Sanchez was pressured a few times and I think he knocked on his butt once but for the most part he was left untouched.
But this line is a bit of an anomaly in that it is not one of the classic O lines that SC has had in the past.
Behind athletic tackles Butch Lewis and Charles Brown, USC's offensive line dominated the Cavaliers' defensive front by featuring plenty of movement.
[...] With four 300-plus pound starters from last year now cashing NFL exhibition season checks, USC's offensive line was regarded as somewhat of a question mark heading into the Virginia game.
The Trojans' new-look front -- which did not include a starter listed above 300 pounds -- made its presence known early when USC drove 56 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead.
That the O line has come together as quick as it has is impressive but I really want to see how they do agaisnt tOSU...win that game and I will be stoked. That's a great defense they have.
Looking at the running game once again the Carroll philosophy of rotating the running backs seemed to work well. Gable, McKnight, Stafon and Bradford each scored a touchdown and averaged 10 carries each so one again while there was no one dominant back, the production was effective. McKnight had some special runs and Gable's 33-yard scamper was fun to watch. Bradford seemed to be the most serviceable in eating up yards up the middle while Stafon did a lot of SHake n' Bake to gain extra yardage. It's hard to be disappointed with that type of production.
The Receivers did a great job and Damian Williams did exactly what we thought he would, pulling down catches and making plays like we had heard about in practice. Williams led in receiving with 7 catches for 91 yards. Ronald Johnson had 3 catches for 78 yards but it was the 49-Yard TD catch that really made his mark. Patrick Turner also had a big day with 2 catches for 62-Yards including a 20-yard TD.
So thats brief snapshot for now we look at Mark Sanchez's performance a little more in depth tomorrow. DC Trojan was at the game so he will offer some thought on his experiences as well.
This was a solid win but the real test comes in 2 weeks.