Headed into the start of the USC Trojans opening contest, as a whole, it was not a good weekend for the Pac-12. Almost half of the conference lost. Stanford, Washington, Washington State, Colorado, Arizona State all had disappointing openers. Arizona struggled, Utah struggled, Oregon's defense looked porous and their quarterback was injured (though he should be fine) but the Cal defense looked improved and UCLA defeated Virginia by 18.
USC, however, looked sharp tonight, pretty much everything we expected to happen did. The defensive line looked improved, which managed to surprise people who must have spent too much time wondering how the Trojans would replace Leonard Williams. The defense, however, held strong.
The offensive line appeared less than stellar and gave up far too many sacks (in reality 1 sack is far too many sacks). This again caused many people to overreact even though Coach Sarkisian spoke at length about the aggressive Arkansas State pass rush, and how the Trojans would spend time trying out substitutions and other things on the line. It was obvious there were going to be sacks. One is too many, but an uncomfortably high number of sacks (at least when playing Arkansas State) was a distinct possibility.
Despite the heavy rush Kessler spread the ball around to 10+ wide receivers. Tre Madden and the running game also looked sharp. Madden may not have been Buck Allen 2.0 but thus far it looks like USC will have a strong rushing attack.
Su'a Cravens had an interception, and the Trojans as predicted attempted a few trick plays and deep balls. In short, it was clear that Coach Sark was attempting to get plenty of reps for the young but deep roster while also showing future opponents what this talented team is capable of and what they have to be prepared for. The Trojans led 42-6 at the end of the third quarter, well past the point of the final score mattering. Overall the Trojans looked sound with few penalties, but a few spots on special teams, and the offensive line do need some cleaning up. After the game Tre Madden described the offensive performance as a B-
Adoree' Jackson did injure his hip flexor, but was healthy enough to return the game. Jackson, however, did not return, simply because there really was not much of a need to risk any further damage or pain to Adoree'.
Weird moments: Arkansas State blocked an extra point and took it to the house only to have it called back on an offside call. The Pac-12 commentary team wondered aloud why Arkansas State would call a timeout with just over 2 minutes left in the first half. Why was this confusing to the commentary team? Well because apparently Arkansas State could have just waited for the two-minute warning to stop the clock. It might be the conference of champions, but tonight it was not the commentary of champions.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Delayed but here's blind long snapper Jake Olson walking out of the tunnel with OL Jordan Austin. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USC?src=hash">#USC</a> <a href="http://t.co/o0Hdv6kbgV">pic.twitter.com/o0Hdv6kbgV</a></p>— Keely Eure (@keelyismyname) <a href="https://twitter.com/keelyismyname/status/640401875523645440">September 6, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Trojans win easy by the score of: 55-6
Next up: The Idaho Vandals.
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