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Balance - USC over WSU

Quick note: ABC here in NYC cut to the Iowa/Wisconsin game so I missed the whole 4th qtr. so I may miss some things. Guess I'm getting Game Plan

USC Set the tone early on its first drive, throw the ball. Last week it was running attack, this week it was the passing attack and Booty, for the most part, ran it perfectly. With the running game strutting its stuff last week in Nebraska the passing game to center stage this week against WSU.

Here is Booty's line - 28/35 279 yards (8.0 yards Avg.) 4 TD 1 Int.

With the running games explosive performance last week the only thing to left to see was the passing attack that had so many questions last week.

From the L.A. Times:

Thirteen plays. Eighty-three yards. Touchdown. A dream start for any offense.

The Trojans' first drive of the game made a statement because they did it threw the air after dominating Nebraska with their running game last week.

Whether it was Booty completing first-down hitch passes to Patrick Turner or David Ausberry or a fourth-down touchdown to Davis, USC was aggressive from the start.

On first down, the Trojans tipped their hand to what was to come when they used run-action to the left and then completed a quick sideline pass to Ausberry for an easy seven-yard gain.

On the second play, Booty dropped straight back and completed another sideline pass, this time to Turner, who ran a simple out pattern against a soft-playing secondary.

To keep the pressure on the Cougars' defense, USC turned to play-action on its third play of the drive when Booty rolled left and completed a short pass to Davis. On the fourth play, the Trojans gave the ball to senior tailback Chauncey Washington for a five-yard gain.

You get the picture as to how it went in this game, throw early and throw often. It was almost like the set up the run by establishing the pass.

For the most part SC has now shown they are pretty balanced on the offense. They can do it on the ground and in the air. They have also made those statements against teams with poor defenses. I am not saying I am not convinced but the picture will be clear when they dominate a Cal or Oregon or even ucla. When they put on the type of show that I saw last night against one of those three then I will b completely convinced.

The running game last night once again saw a little bit of everyone contribute. Last night it was Chauncey Washington's turn to shine and he made the most of it. WSU never really knew what hit them; SC had 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing. Alex Brink did not impress but I can't fault him as he was pressured time and again making some dumb decisions as a result. It is apparent that Pete Carroll is going with a "bend don't break" defensive philosophy. Once again the Secondary was playing a little loose and soft and Brink took advantage of it with some short passes that got WSU some good yards and he threaded the needle on a couple of long pass plays that either kept drives going on third down or simply moved the ball downfield. One thing that left me stymied was how Rey Rey was left covering the receiver on WSU's 2nd TD, talk about a total mismatch something was amiss there. Cary Harris going down to a dislocated shoulder put Shareece Wright in the game who did a fine job in relief. I will have more on Harris' injury later.

Again, it was a pretty balanced attack last night and with three games under their belt SC has now shown what they are capable of. The first TD Davis was vintage in your face Carroll- going for it on 4th down, no fear, (on a side note I saw what was obviously a tongue-in-cheek comment from one of the clowns from across town calling PC a jerk for doing just that, going for the TD and not the easy 3-points. Life's rough on the outside, eh.)

When you look back on it, it seems that the way SC has done it with more of a quiet dominance. It has been dominant and they have received more tan their fair share of publicity. But in comparison it seems that everyone is on the LSU bandwagon with how they have dominated all their opponents. SC has dominated as well but it seems like it has all been under the radar.

Last night, like last week was stunning performance with all the questions pretty much answered.

The question after a 28-point win over Idaho was, "How could USC look so sluggish in its home opener?"

The question after the bye week was, "How could USC be No. 1 when Louisiana State just crushed Virginia Tech in Baton Rouge?"

The question after a romp over Nebraska last week was, "Nice running game, but when will the star quarterback and his passing game show up?"

The only question after USC's 47-14 win over Washington State at the Coliseum on Saturday night was. . .

. . . Next?

That would be Washington, next week, in Seattle.

Saturday night was a bad night for Trojans Nitpick Nation as USC turned in a worked-them-like performance.

You want blemishes?

Starting quarterback John David Booty tossed an interception near the end of the first half.

Bad, bad, Booty -- how could you let that pass leave your hand?

Trojans kicker David Buehler missed an extra point that would have given USC 48 points instead of 47.

Early morning stadium steps might be in order.

The backup quarterback, Mark Sanchez, had a late pass intercepted and two Trojans defenders dropped in-their-hands interceptions that could have ended the game sooner.

Other than that, it was a near-perfect effort as the Trojans implemented Operation Balancing Act.

Agree whole-heartedly. Now, about they 4th quarter that I missed, regular CC commenter Matthew, who is also here in NYC but had the game on Game Plan, wrote up a quick review:

Biggest observation of the fourth quarter was that McKnight looked great. He had an incredible punt return called back for a block in the back. A couple of runs for over 12 yards. He looked electrifying, and no fumbles or even mishandles. And, as others have mentioned before, he never looks like he's going that fast, even when he obviously is.

Stafon continued to look good during the few touches he got. We even got Bradford in there for a wide open receiving touchdown! Dennis didn't look that impressive in the real garbage time, but it's nice to see a veteran who has waited his turn get in there and get some touches.

Booty didn't do much after ABC cut away, but the 20yd strike to Hazelton for the TD was a needle-threading. Very accurate, very impressive.

It was nice that they let Sanchez throw a little bit. I felt like all last year and a so far this year, when they put Sanchez in, they don't let him throw. And we've heard so much about his arm in the past that I would like to see him throw it more. But they gave him a few throws this time, and he has completions to RoJo and McCoy, and the pass to McCoy was a bullet - it just looked great. But on his third throw, poor decision making, and a pick in the red zone with a big return. So that was obviously disappointing (but hey, every ball Sanchez threw was complete to someone).

The defense, even when they put the second string in, still looked good. They put up some more rushing yards than they did in the first three, but it was still bend but don't break. WSU took out Brinks early in the 4th put in the other guy - Rogers? Yeah, Rogers. Rogers wasn't able to do too much but was able to lead his team to the red-zone, but it was bend but don't break for our guys, who refused to let WSU punch in it there at the end.

All in all, a impressive performance (minus the pick and the long return).

I'm very happy that McKnight had some good touches. He will be just fine and he will only get better. Here is the video recap from ESPN.