Earlier I discussed that things are different now and alluded to what a lot of people have been saying about this years team. The fact is the days of SC dominance are over and those days have been replaced by a team that will slog through games to get the win.
In watching LSU the past few weeks it was apparent that they too were headed for a fall. You saw some weaknesses exposed against South Carolina, then there was the lackluster performance against Tulane and then the nail biter against the Gators. And it all came together as they lost a tough one against Kentucky. I have quoted my friend Peter Bean before in his term "Dinged Les Miles Points" and loud mouth Les came through once again by calling three straight running plays on that last drive in the third OT. Every team goes through it as dominance only comes along every once in a while. That's where we are with SC. I don't necessarily agree with Scott Wolf's assertion that SC is looking the old Paul Hackett teams, Hackett never had this type of talent and he certainly didn't have the amount of injuries that SC has right now but it is hard to deny that they haven't played where we are used to seeing them play and that's the rub. No team stays on top forever and we went through a number of bad years before this great run of poor play and mediocrity.
Injuries have plagued this team to the point where we are pulling guys off the scout team to fill in. So while it wasn't a convincing win, a win is still a win. I realize that isn't the most popular line of thinking but it is all we have and it is a place to start. Now you know I'm not really into stats as I hate to try and decipher them but in reading some of the other USC sites there are some interesting numbers are out there.
It was noted last night that USC had 276 total yards to Arizona's 255. Not what we are used to as far as a dominating performance but the underlying theme here is our 19 first downs to Arizona's 13' We also ran more plays 74 to 59 holding on to the ball for 33 minutes. SC converted 7 of 17 on 3rd down while Arizona converted 3 of 14. That tells me we are moving the ball on some grind it out drives. It has been said before on CC and it has also been noted elsewhere that because we are not scoring on a those quick strike plays opposing offenses are not under pressure to score points to try and keep up as they will try and move the ball more methodically. Of course the bad news is that SC is only averaging 3.5 yards-per-carry and that goes right to the health of the O line and that is why we need the Receivers to step up and make those easy plays.
Of course we still have a long way to go and I am not convinced that things will be all right. Sanchez's performance was fairly pedestrian but when you look at all the intangibles of this situation he didn't do too bad once he settled down. I do not think he is the savior of this program but to some the team has a bit of a spring in its step and if that gets them back on track I'll take it.