You have to like the way USC played yesterday.
For the most part this was a pretty error free game. There were some dumb penalties (looking at you Mr. Kalil), but from what I saw this was a pretty balanced effort.
Now lets not get carried away.
USC's defense did a fantastic job at containing Chris Polk who had only 36-yards on 9 carries....heck UW only had 46-yards rushing on 24 carries. That is a big difference from last year when the defense gave up over 500 yards, over 200 rushing. The defensive line really got some pressure yesterday.
This was the performance that we all have expected to see.
The Trojans recorded a season-high seven sacks against Washington. They also got a game-turning play from Kyle Negrete on a fake punt and a kickoff return for a touchdown by Marqise Lee.
That helped complement an offensive performance that included Curtis McNeal's career-best 148 rushing yards, but only one touchdown pass by Matt Barkley and two receptions by Robert Woods.
This was definitely a team performance...the defense performed, the running game performed, the offense did their thing.
Even special teams planted their flag in this win.
That was was a ballsy play by Negrete who is making his mark on this team.
It was never more worth it to Negrete than in the second quarter Saturday when fullback Ross Cumming called for the fake when the Trojans were facing fourth and nine from their 45-yard line. Negrete knew they were probably going to run the play. Before the game, Coach Lane Kiffin had warned him about it while ordering him to slide as soon as he passed the first-down marker.
"He told me, 'No way am I going to slide,' " Kiffin recalled with a laugh.
This kid is pretty tough. There is a little more on Negrete here.
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Marqise Lee is having a tremendous season.
We all know about Robert Woods. Woods is a priceless weapon in USC's aresenal, but he has taken a pounding this season and his production has dropped off ever so slightly.
Even Woods has admitted it.
But Lee has been there to pick up the slack and he is performing at a level that many of us did not expect as a freshman...I mean lightning hardly strikes twice.
USC freshman Marqise Lee continued his excellent season Saturday, catching a touchdown pass and returning a kickoff for a touchdown in No. 18 USC's 40-17 victory over Washington at the Coliseum.
It was the second time in as many games that Lee scored two touchdowns.
"I'll get in trouble for saying this, I'm sure, but I thought Marqise looked like the best player on the field," USC Coach Lane Kiffin said.
That was an incredible kick-off return.
Just wait until George Farmer is healthy...there won't be enough balls to throw around!
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Even with this solid win, I am not quite ready to say that USC is back.
Though some are...
This USC team is more than just a feel-good story after a triple overtime loss to Stanford. They are slowing looking like the team Pete Carroll coached to seven straight BCS bowl games and 11-win seasons.
It’s hard to say exactly when they turned the corner. From most accounts it was after their embarrassing 43-22 loss to Arizona State in Tempe, which was more than just wakeup call for a young team that desperately needed one. It was a game they trailed 21-6 in the first half before storming back to take a 22-21 lead with 4:15 left in the third quarter and then came completely undone.
Beat Oregon and then lets talk.
Early in the season this team struggled against lesser opponents.
Things have come together, Barkley, Woods and Lee are becoming the best trio in CFB. The defense is much better, they went toe-to-toe with Stanford and smacked around ND in South Bend. The running game has come to life, but USC still has a tough road ahead.
The real test for USC will be next season when the scholarship numbers will be negatively affected.
But that is for later...
Right now the future starts with Oregon next week.
How this team performs in Autzen will go a long way to painting the picture to come.
Oregon Week starts now!
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Sunday morning links...
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Here is the Drive Chart...
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