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What We Learned from the USC vs. Stanford

We learned quite a bit about USC but are left with plenty of questions.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night did not go the way USC expected. The Trojans wanted to walk out of Palo Alto with a statement win against 7th ranked Stanford; instead they walked out with 27-10 beating, as well as more questions than answers.

Discipline is still an issue- Discipline continues to hit USC on the field. During last Saturday’s game, USC committed eight penalties for 56 yards. Six of those penalties were false starts on the offensive line which ended up hurting the Trojans offense by putting them in third and forever situations.

If USC is going to improve then their discipline has to be addressed. The Trojans can’t expect to compete with the better teams in the Pac-12 if they cannot play disciplined football. Expect Clay Helton to spend the team’s short week addressing the matter.

Trojans Lack Physicality On The Defensive Line- One of the keys to the game against Stanford was the ability to get physical with the Cardinal. The Trojans defensive line were unable to do that. The Cardinal offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage which allowed Stanford to gain 6.5 yards per carry. There were a lot of 3rd and 3, 3rd and 2 situations but the defensive line was unable to stop Stanford from easily converting them. USC has failed to match up physically on each side against Alabama and Stanford and that’s very concerning. Noah Jefferson being out for the game didn’t help but that’s no excuse for the defensive line to get beat up front.

Trojans offense showing signs of improvement but still inconsistent- USC has showed signs of offensive improvement against Stanford. They were able to run the ball and move the chains against Stanford, however the offense only managed to score 10 points. USC failed to put together a consistent scoring drive to keep them in the game. A lot of that came from key dropped passes, inability to get JuJu Smith-Schuster going, and false start penalties. You can blame coaching but something has to change in order for the offense to consistently get into the end zone. There’s too much talent on the offense for USC to only score 10. Clay Helton and Tee Martin have a lot of work to do this week to figure out the issue. The positive from all of this is that the running game is Alive and Tight Ends were used more for this game.

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