Coach Clay Helton admitted afterwards that ‘it wasn’t perfect,’ but his team ‘will take a 45-7 win in the Coliseum.’ It started with a few sloppy moments, but as the Trojans played on under the bright mid-day sun, it turned into a game of big plays. If you didn’t make it out to the Coliseum on Saturday, and the Pac-12 network isn’t part of your TV package, here’s the best and worst from the home opener.
Hit: The USC defense
“Defensively I thought they were phenomenal,” Helton said after the game, “against a really good running back...and a dynamic running quarterback.” The Trojans D held the Aggies to a measly 49 rushing yards on 26 attempts. They were fast and physical, and showed the resolve the team desperately needed after getting embarrassed last week against Alabama.
Miss: Chuma Edoga ‘flies off the handle’
The game was less than two minutes old. The whistle blew, there was some sort of scrum on the line, and suddenly fans in the Coliseum were looking down in disbelief. A Trojan offensive lineman was in a shoving match with a referee! After losing a player to unsportsmanlike conduct in game one, and losing another key lineman to injury a few days prior, it was the worst way to start. Edoga had lost his mind, and left everyone wondering if we were in for another disaster.
Hit: Juju’s Block
It’s not often that the hit of the game is a block from a wide receiver. Towards the end of the first half, with the Trojan offense finally starting to click, JuJu Smith-Schuster unloaded on Utah State defender Dallin Leavitt. USC would score a few plays later, stretching the lead to 21-0. It was a hit that energized both the crowd and the sideline, and showed that the Trojans were to determined to set the tone.
Miss: The 11 a.m. Start Time
I would have loved to have been in the room when they came up with this one. ‘Let’s play our home opener at 11a.m., so that everyone has to wake up at the crack of dawn for the game. And it’s early September, so the blazing sun will be directly overhead, leaving everyone in the Coliseum to cook for three and half hours.’
I’m not sure if we ever got the full story here. I’m guessing it was done for the benefit of the Pac-12 network. Whatever the case, the early start left no time for any kind of build up, and the stands were mostly empty as play began.
This is the play Trojans fans were waiting for. It looked like Utah State was trying to keep the ball away from the speedy returner. The ball skipped a couple times on the turf, but Adoree’ Jackson picked it up anyway. He made one cut, weaved his way up the middle, then turned on the jets in an electrifying 79 yard return.
Have any hits or misses of your own? Post them here with your comments.
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