It is no longer a debate about who dominates the city of Angels, as USC rocked the Bruins Saturday afternoon in the Coliseum. With a key win against UCLA the Trojans are now the winners of the Pac-12 South, will advance to the conference championship, and will reclaim the Victory Bell after going 0-3.
USC's focus has narrowed down to Stanford, a rematch that will need to go in the Trojans' favor after a humiliating week three loss to the Cardinals. Stanford is coming off of a huge upset victory at home against No.6 Notre Dame, which will help them move up the rankings. USC has the opportunity to crash the Cardinal's party if they can come up with a victory this upcoming weekend at Levi Stadium. However before we get into the much-anticipated details of the conference championship, lets view a few takeaways from the USC-UCLA game. Let's start with the success of the Trojans' defense.
USC's Defense is Capable of Success
When Wilcox and company mixes up the play calling, quarterback pressure, and forces turnovers, the Trojans are one chippy defensive unit to mess with. With Cravens consistently winning man on match-ups against Thomas Duarte and Marshall coming up with two key interceptions, USC's defense showed they are capable of covering receivers after all. Give credit to the Trojans' defensive line as they produced pressure on the freshman quarterback, sacks, and a forced fumble that led to a Rasheem Green touchdown. USC went from allowing 407 yards and six touchdowns through the air against Oregon to limiting the Bruins to 227 yards and one passing touchdown.
The Clock is USC's Ally
The Trojans' offense presented a game plan that was quite simple to understand: keep the clock running on offense. USC was on offense for 66% of the game (40 minutes) whereas the Bruins only controlled the clock for 20 minutes. The Trojans took their time dissecting the Bruins' defense, gaining 410 total yards including 235 on the ground. Helton and his offense spread the wealth, giving ten different players touches through the pass and run game. USC's success came from a balanced attack that was built on a strong running foundation and Kessler's consistency through the air. USC showed they do not need to do anything fancy to find opportunities on offense but only play their game and control the time of possession.
Adoree Will Find a Way to Make an Impact
It is no secret that Adoree Jackson hasn't been fully utilized for what he can actually do for this Trojan team. It is also not a secret that if Jackson gets the ball in his hands, he has a big chance to go for six points. Adoree once again showed why you do not kick the ball to him but from him if you want to win. Special teams have been inconsistent for USC throughout the season, but this weekend takes the cake. With the combination of executing blocks, playing smart, and having a playmaker for a returner, USC has showed why any moment can be THE moment that turns the momentum in a game. Adoree will continue to shine when needed and has shown that his playmaking ability should be accounted for when he's on the field. When special teams can consistently show up for the Trojans, their offense has a better chance at dominating opposing defenses.