So its no surprise that SC is #2 in this weeks BCS poll. That was expected with their impressive win against ND on Saturday night. A couple of thoughts as we put the ND win behind us and focus on UCLA.
As per Coach Weis ND was dominated in all facets of the game. Offense Defense and Special Teams, the two turnovers that they converted amounted to zero points and while they converted the blocked punt for a TD it looked as if they were stymied all night. They were not prepared for the speed that SC had on offense and they were unable to put a lot of pressure on JDB. The SC defense did put pressure on Brady Quinn and the got some sacks but the pressure usually resulted in Quinn having to scramble and not being able to convert. Quinn did have a run for 60 yards and he was the teams rushing leader. Quinn had a couple of big pass plays in the game but in the big picture they amounted to very little. But for every positive play there was a negative one just around the bend.
From the LA Times:
But on the next play, Trojans linebacker Keith Rivers stripped the ball from Notre Dame running back Darius Walker, and USC defensive tackle Fili Moala recovered the fumble.
"He didn't get a lot of help, especially early on," Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis said of Quinn. "He was far from perfect, but hey, I was far from perfect too."
Quinn's first pass of the game was a 38-yard completion to McKnight along the sideline, but the Irish drive ended when Quinn's fourth-down pass fell incomplete. Quinn appeared to have running room on the play, but he opted to pass and overthrew McKnight.
As for SC, they were clicking on all cylinders except for that small stretch in the 2nd qtr. I think most SC fans were concerned as it appeared that the wheels were falling off. But in the 2nd half Booty righted the ship and SC continued to roll. The secondary did a masterful job in rendering the ND receivers ineffective for a good part of the game. Mays and Harris really stepped up as did Dallas Sartz with a great pass deflection in the 2nd half. I don't think ND was prepared for the speed of the SC LB's as they were flying to the ball, sometimes a little too effectively as was seen on the Quinn 60 yard run. ND did use the Draw play effectively at times and I was surprised that they didn't use it more but as the game moved on it was clear that ND was clueless as to how break through the SC defense.
Special teams were a draw to me. It was nice to see Desmond Reed get a little revenge in returning a kick-off for 42 yards and SC did have some great returns but the blocked punt was disconcerting as it appeared that someone missed a blocking assignment. Coach Carroll will work on that this week. SC held Zibokowski (sic?) from making any big plays on kick returns which was a concern going into the game. Of course how can not give Brian Cushing props for his heads up play on the onside kick. That Cushing as able to run it back for a TD showed the speed that this team has.
In the post game press conference I was a little surprised at Coach Weis' statement that "stats are for losers". OK I'll bite, didn't Weis quote stats and bio's about most of the SC players in his pre game press conference?
From the Daily News:
Well, he might have had his troops well-prepared, but Weis might have been better off had he spent more time watching "Borat" - at least he could have had a few laughs - for all the difference his film room work made.
Weis might be known as some sort of genius, but it certainly wasn't on display Saturday night as his team was bewildered by John David Booty, who dissected his defense for 265 yards on 17 completions, three of them going to Jarrett for touchdowns.
I think Pete Carroll's approach of taking it one week at a time obviously works pretty well. Weis' preparing weeks in advance while playing a weak schedule obviously wasn't the answer. As things looks now this was ND's best chance to knock off SC with 18 seniors on the team. With those seniors moving on it would appear that ND will have an uphill battle in the years to come as SC will have most of the players in this game hanging around for a few more years. This is why recruiting is so important and Pete Carroll is the best there is.
So now we move on to UCLA. Please do not be fooled, this game against UCLA is important. Anything can happen in a rivalry but as I noted above Pete Carroll will have this team ready to play.