USC won their first conference championship since 2008, defeating Stanford 31-28 in the Pac-12 Championship game Saturday night. While the Trojans wait to see what Bowl game they will play in and who their opponents will be, let’s look back to the Pac-12 Championship game and see what we learned in their victory.
USC Special Teams Struggles: The Trojans special teams haven’t been too good this season, however Saturday night it looked horrible. USC had its worst special teams performance in quite some time which could have cost them the game. Bad punts, misreading, misfielding punts, and bad coverage on kickoffs to name the few. Safe to say the unit did not have a great night at all. Coach John Baxter has been known to field some outstanding special teams play, however last season the frustration and poor play showed.
Michael Pittman Jr. Belongs: Michael Pittman has had a solid few weeks since seeing playing time at receiver for USC. Saturday night he was pretty much a huge headache for the Stanford secondary. Pittman’s size and speed was too much for Stanford as he torched them for a Pac-12 Championship game record of 145 yards receiving. Pittman has a bright future at USC and will be a treat to watch as the years come.
USC becomes the first team from the South to win the Pac-12: Since the expansion and split of the conference, no Pac-12 south team has ever won the Pac-12 Championship. USC broke the mold Saturday night by defeating Stanford, who won the Pac-12 Championship game 3 times.
Clay Helton deserves his due: While many may not be happy with head coach Clay Helton due to USC winning games ugly, they have to give him his due for what he accomplished in his two years at USC. Under Helton the Trojans have won the Rose Bowl, Won 10 games in two straight seasons, coached USC to 11 wins this season, undefeated at home, and won the Pac-12 Championship. Yes they haven’t won games convincingly, but they won games and that’s all that matters.