OK lots of things to get to here on the day after the Arkansas win. The full Box Score is here.
In regards to the offense you can really call it a "tale of two halves".
In the first half SC, except for the offensive line, looked a little sluggish and sloppy. They had a number of illegal formation penalties and a couple of false start penalties that hurt a couple of good drives. Jarrett and Smith were hardly used as SC wanted to establish the running game by using the "tailback by committee" approach. This was great chance to see how are all of our backs looked. Two things jump out at me here: 1- Chauncey Washington when healthy is the real deal. He's a big kid, bigger than when I saw him at South High in Torrance. 2- Gable and Moody clearly have the raw talent to be special backs.
Jarrett looked a little rusty, probably from a lack of practice time, and you could tell that the Arkansas defense was going to try and jam him at the line any chance they got. Fred Davis (5 catches for 59 yards and a TD) looked awesome. He will be a huge weapon for the SC offense. His presence will only open it up for Jarrett, Smith and Turner.
The second half looked like SC was firing on all cylinders. They really opened it up, finally getting Jarrett, Smith and Patrick Turner into the mix. After having their first drive of the 2nd half sputter the defense got the ball back on an int. at the Ark 28 and SC quickly drove culminating with a TD pass from JDB to Turner into double coverage. It was great catch by Turner who positioned himself perfectly to keep the ball away from both defenders.
Booty on the move.
Photo courtesy of USC Website
By this point you could see the Ark. defense start to lose steam. The offensive line really started to push them back in order to give JDB time to get just about everyone involved. Fred Davis was key on a number of drives and he will be an important weapon. Powdrell had a 44-yard catch to set up his own 1-yard run for a TD in the 4th qtr. After an int. by Harris that put the ball on the Ark. 35 Powdrell then had a catch for 20 yards that set up a 10-yard TD run by Moody.
The running game was productive. Gable (12 carries, 51 yards and 1 TD) started the game for SC. Washington (8 carries, 55yards and 0 TD) looked pretty good but it was obvious that with his hamstring injury he was less than 100%. He spent a lot of his time on the sidelines on the bike trying to keep his hammy loose. Moody (7 carries, 58 yards and 1 TD) was also in the mix. Others contributing were Bradford (5 carries 13 yards and 1 TD), Reed (4 carries, 7 yards and 0 TD) and Powdrell (2 carries, 9 yards and 1 TD).
The receivers really got into the mix in the second half. Smith (5 catches 67 yards) had a number of catches that converted first downs. Jarrett (5 catches 35 yards) had Houston on him all night and he was constantly jamming him at the line. That's the beauty of the SC air attack, if you want to double team or play it close SC will hit you somewhere else. We already discussed Fred Davis (5 catches 59 yards and 1 TD), you will continue to here his name as the year progresses. Powdrell (4 catches 72 yards and 1 TD) is establishing himself as a receiving threat out of the backfield that will add another dimension to the offense. Turner (2 catches 15 yards 1 TD) is starting to show why he will be the heir apparent in the coming years. Travon Patterson got into the mix with 1 catch for 19 yards. Freshman QB Mark Sanchez got into the game in garbage time and went 2 att for 1 comp for 19 yards.
Turner... this will not be the last time we see this!
Photo courtesy of USC Website
The defense was really dialed in forcing 2 fumbles and 3 int's. They were swarming the ball from the first series. They produced 1 sack (Ellis). Rivers, Cushing, Maualuga, Sartz and Ellis had the lions share of the tackles. The secondary held up allowing only the Ark. scoring drive for 80 yards that saw catches by Monk (7, 14 and 19 yards) Williams (6 yards) and Crenshaw (22 yards). Maualuga came into the game when Fred Matua went out with an injury. Maualuga continues to impress. Pinkard, who was having a pretty good game went out with a knee injury on a punt return leaving more questions for an already shaky secondary.
Darren McFadden did play for Ark. but he was used sporadically in order to protect his injured toe. McFadden did have some good runs but he also had some catches for losses. Felix Jones had a terrible game but he put the ball on the ground 3 times. The QB questions continue for Ark. as starting QB Robert Johnson really had an off game (12 for 25 110 yards 2 int). Freshman QB Mitch Mustain came into the game around the 10 min. mark of the 4th qtr. and promptly drove Ark. down for a score but this was against the SC defensive reserves. Arkansas used a lot of misdirection in most of their plays. They used the reverse and fake reverse but to no avail, the SC defense really showed how much they have improved.
It was an impressive win against an improved Arkansas team form last year. They returned 19 starters but SC just proved to have too much talent. The running game is starting to take shape with Gable and Washington vying for the starting spot. Booty started to look really comfortable in the second half, the receivers are once again going give opposing defenses fits with their speed and size and the O line proved why SC QB's don't get their uniforms dirty, they kept the pressure off of Booty and that enabled him to settle in and focus.
The defense has shown how improved they are. They continue to chase turnovers and have the speed to really disrupt opposing offenses. The secondary still has some questions especially with the injury to Pinkard but Coach Carroll will find a way to plug the holes.
The kicking game continues to be stable with Danelo hitting 3 FG's and Van Blarcom consistently nailing kick-offs for touch-backs.
Things look good but there is still some work to do.
Up next Nebraska