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USC's Balanced Attack

Everyone knew that USC defense was going to be firing on all cylinders last night. We all knew that Ohio State needed to address the speed and the tenatiousness of this defense. The one wild card was Terrelle Pryor who was effective at running the ball and when he had time made a few good passes. That Pryor wasn't used more in the mode of Vince Young was left a number of SC fans scratching their heads. Boeckman was off his game all night under the presure of the nations best defense. The results as we saw were devastating...

The surprise was how fluid the offense was as they looked like a veteran unit out there last night.

It's hard to figure which type of attack -- air or ground -- the Trojans are more proficient in.

"Teams need to prepare for both because we have too many good running backs and receivers who can catch the ball and an O-line that can run block or pass block," said quarterback Mark Sanchez, who tossed four touchdown passes, two of which went to Damian Williams.

Against Virginia, C.J. Gable led the ground game with 73 yards on nine carries. This time, it was Joe McKnight, who sliced and diced the Buckeyes for 105 yards on 12 carries (8.8 yards per carry).

"I think our offense is great at both," DT Fili Moala said. "They do a great job of keeping you guessing. They're fast enough to run zone plays and strong enough to come right at you with powers and leads. And that quarterback back there, when he's hot he's hard to stop."

We all marveled at the production in the Virginia game but it was against a UVA defense that wasn't even a shadow of their former selves so it wasn't the truest test that SC needed to see as to just how well this unit would play.

OSU once again couldn't adjust to the speed that SC was going to throw at them.

USC sent tailback Joe McKnight zigzagging through the Buckeyes one minute, a blur of defenders at them the next, and a handful of receivers past them to catch quarterback Mark Sanchez's four touchdown passes en route to a 35-3 thrashing of No. 5-ranked Ohio State.

Too much speed. Too much depth. Too much USC.

[...]McKnight was a spinning marvel. He had just 12 carries but bolted for 105 yards. It looked as if the Trojans could have run all night, but, as usual, they insisted on balancing their act. When they got close to the goal line, they turned Sanchez loose.

You knew OSU was in trouble when SC was able to exploit the mismatch of Stanley Havili being covered by a linebacker on SC's first score. Sanchez said in an interview I read somewhere that SC had practiced that play 12 or 13 times in practice. They obviously saw a tendancy that OSU fell into and SC exploited it with their speed. The finger tip catch was a marvel to see as Havili battled to keep his balance all the way to the end zone.

Saturday night really opened up the nations eyes as to just how good the offense is going to be. The offensive line was absolutely flawless in their execution of the game plan and their protection of Mark Sanchez. Yes, they allowed one sack in the 4th qtr. when SC was going for it on 4th and short but by then things were well in hand. Pete Carroll has been questioned in his use of a rotation system with the running backs but it has worked pretty well even though it was pretty much Joe McKnight's night as hehad the hot hand and got the bulk of the carries. The unit that has also stepped up are the receivers, they are finally starting to make plays. Last night was Damian Williams night as he caught to TD passes and appears to be THE go to guy for Mark Sanchez. Patrick Turner also had a pretty good game with some key passes. It really looks like SC is going to have to go to a rotation system for the recivers with all the talent we have on the depth chart.

The past two seasons we have had to rely on the running game or the tight end to get us the points. With the receivers stepping it up and with the O line effectively being able to run and pass block, the offense is way ahead of the curve as to where we thought they would be at the start of the season.

This a different feel than from the past two seasons as the offense has a lot more spark than before. SC only needs to keep focused and not let all the hype get to their heads. That's not always an easy task but I am confident that with the maturity that unit has showed in its coming together so quickly that this shouldn't be a problem.

It was a truley remarkable performance...