Well, that third quarter was scary, no? A rough way to fall from the grace of a Week 1 blowout. Here are three quick thoughts from USC’s 42-29 victory over Syracuse, which took place at MetLife Stadium.
There’s the run game!
Last week was all Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee. Though both men played well today, as did Robert Woods, Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal looked sharp carrying the rock. McNeal shouldered the load on the Trojans’ first scoring drive, recording 42 yards. Redd went over 100 yards for the first time in his ‘SC career, the highlight being a 40-yard run in the fourth quarter to allow Barkley and Lee to score their final touchdowns of the day. Woods and Lee joined the running fun, too. Each had their number called for a reverse, and Woods’ went 76 yards while Lee’s covered 23. A mixed offensive attack will be essential going forward.
Better call Spike Lee: Morgan Breslin’s doing work
Since Redd’s arrival, the number one concern with USC was their defensive line depth. With no Devon Kennard for the season among others, the group looked thin. Enter Breslin, a junior college transfer from the Bay Area. Breslin played well for the second-straight game, routinely applying pressure on Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib, recording one sack and a few tackles for loss; he also tipped the ball which led to Dion Bailey’s second interception. Last week, Breslin harassed Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder, taking him down once. Even when Wes Horton returns, as of now, Breslin looks to be a key down the season’s stretch.
Can anyone play No. 2 corner?
Since Isiah Wiley is no longer with the program, a bevy of prospective cornerbacks have been trying to earn the spot next to Nickell Robey. Well, it hasn’t gone too well. Anthony Brown and the returning Torin Harris looked incredibly rough today. As Joey tweeted, no Wiley could be a bigger problem than previously anticipated. Brian Baucham made a nice pass defense, which saved a touchdown. But he wasn’t on the field much. Many noted on the Twittersphere that it would be surprising to not see Josh Shaw working with the cornerbacks this week in practice. So true. Coach Lane Kiffin needs to find a stopgap to that leaky hole. While Stanford passing attack is not as intimidating as Syracuse’s, Cal’s receivers (notably Allen, Keenan) the following week could cause problems.