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Cody Kessler and JuJu Smith-Schuster: The Trojans’ Perfect Combination

Kessler and Smith-Schuster are a dangerous aerial combination.

Harry How/Getty Images

In the aftermath of the disastrous defensive performance against the Stanford Cardinal it is important to remember that USC quarterback Cody Kessler and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster have played well. Yes, the Trojan offense faces questions about their ability to move the ball on third down and their less than impressive performance in the final 40 minutes against the Cardinal, but the duo has performed admirably.

Kessler is 70 for 89 on the year with 922 yards, ten touchdowns, and still no interceptions. Sure much of this production came against their not so stellar opponents in the first two weeks. Keep in mind, though, that for all praise the media has heaped upon Kevin Hogan Kessler produced comparable stats against a much tougher Stanford defense. Kessler threw for 3 touchdowns and 272 yards against a Stanford defense that vastly outplayed their Los Angeles counterparts. In fact, statistically, Kessler is comparable or better than the other quarterbacks topping the Heisman Watch list (though Heisman Trophies are almost never awarded based on stats).

Of the 272 yards and three touchdowns Kessler threw against Stanford 151 of those yards and one of those touchdowns went to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster accounts for almost half of Kessler's total passing yards, and four of his ten passing touchdowns. Say what you will about the prowess and importance of USC's rushing attack but Kessler to Smith-Schuster is a combination for which opposing defenses simply must account.

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