LOS ANGELES CA - OCTOBER 30: Marc Tyler #26 of the USC Trojans celebrates a Matt Barkley #7 touchdown to take a 31-29 lead over the Oregon Ducks during the third quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 30 2010 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Last night's win in Tucson showed us glimpse of what we wanted to see all season from this team.
For the most part we all know 'SC has the talent. They just needed some coaching. We also know we have some depth issues. Putting all that aside we saw the team come together last night to grind out a win.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't pretty at times. The defense still gives up way too many yards in the middle of the field but they got some pressure on Nick Foles and the created a couple of key turnovers.
What's not to like!?
Matt Barkley still has some issues but he gives us the best chance to win. He will get better but he has to relax.
But what many of us saw last night was team that not only didn't quit but they came out determined to win...
They came out and absolutely took the fight to the Cats. From the opening drive, Marc Tyler and the USC run game took control and showed that they were here to play. Tyler led the way on the first possession as USC drove methodically down the field for a score, 7-0. Then Shareece Wright provided a key play when he came on a corner blitz and forced a fumble from Nick Foles which was recovered by DaJohn Harris deep in Arizona territory. USC wasted no time, a nice screen pass to Dillon Baxter went for a good gain with a block by Tyron Smith, and then Matt Barkley hit Rhett Ellison in the end zone and suddenly it was 14-0. Any hopes the Arizona crowd had of getting whipped into a frenzy by a fast start was taken away by USC jumping out to such a quick early lead.
Garry P is right about the crowd.USC took the crowd out this game early. When Arizona got close the crowd came back to life but 'SC found a way to answer and shut them back down.
Some of what I saw last night reminded of some the production we had under Pete Carroll. Going after turnovers, establishing a solid running game protecting the QB...etc.
USC may not have a post season to play for but playing solid now helps us in the off season.
Lane Kiffin also found some motivation for this team to use...
USC coach Lane Kiffin ignored the effects of NCAA sanctions on the Trojans all season, but he finally found a way to use the penalties as motivation to pull off the biggest victory of his fledgling career.
"All of the stuff that is out of the seniors' control with the sanctions and no bowl game, it's really sad," Kiffin said. "Now that we got to the fourth quarter of the season, we talked to the younger players about this in our team meeting.
"It's all (the seniors) have left (to celebrate)."
The Trojans gave their seniors the most unlikely present of the season with a 24-21 upset of 18th-ranked Arizona on Saturday night before 54,722 at Arizona Stadium.
Could you imagine how the team would be right now without those two last second losses?
I can only imagine what Lane Kiffin is thinking about that right now...
This team has not quit at all this season. No one has mailed it in. Yes, there have been some poor performances but these guys never quit.
Even the players see some improvement...
"Every game we come out and keep getting better," said senior linebacker Michael Morgan, who had five tackles and a forced fumble. "Things are starting to click. I'm proud to be a part of this team."
Morgan was part of a defense that struggled on third down but came up with timely turnovers. It also benefited from a grind-it-out USC rushing attack that gained 205 yards and helped the Trojans consume 37 minutes, 27 seconds of clock time.
Even though we had some issues in yesterday's game I have to say that I am happy with how the team looked last night. Special teams again were not a problem. A second straight week where they block a PAT and run it back for two points, regardless of the off-sides penalty, shows how this team has bought into what Kiffin is selling.
How could you not be happy! We still have many things to improve upon but we are seeing progress.
Next up is Oregon St....and that is not a gimme.