Last Saturday the USC Trojans and Texas Longhorns met in their first game since the 2006 Rose Bowl Game. While this game was nowhere near what the 2006 meeting was, it was still an instant classic. Before we move forward and look towards the Cal Bears, let’s revisit the Trojans double overtime victory over Texas and see what we’ve learned.
The Run Game Isn’t Invincible
The last two games saw USC’s run game become an absolute force to deal with. Saturday that wasn’t the case as the Texas front seven held Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr in check all night. As a team the Trojans had 71 rushing yards on the night with no touchdowns. The size and athleticism of Texas defensive front made things difficult for the USC rushing attack which kept the Longhorns in the game.
USC Wide Receiving Ups and Downs: The passing game was once again questionable due to the dropped passes by the Trojan wideouts. Steven Mitchell Jr and Deontay Burnett had a couple of drops, however they managed to follow up with a huge game and made some key catches late in the game. Jalen Greene, who made up for his bad case of the drops with a solid week 2 performance, had a shaky game once again against Texas. Greene had a pass that bounced out of his hand and lead to a Pick six to tie the game with 19 seconds left in the 1st half. However, there were still some positives with the passing game. As said earlier, both Burnett and Mitchell managed to overcome the drops and help Sam Darnold. Also Tyler Vaughns proved to be a pretty reliable target in the slot and saw more playing time. Don’t be shocked if Vaughns end up starting very soon.
USC Defense With Another Stellar Performance: USC defense picked up where they left off against Stanford. The defense as a whole managed to help USC and keep the Texas offense from rolling and gaining momentum. As the game went along the team was hit with injuries, however they managed to keep moving along and make big plays to keep the team in the game. The key play that everyone is talking about is Christian Rector stripping Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger in the second overtime to give USC the ball and a chance to win.
USC Offensive Line and Penalties: The offensive line, who had a huge game last weekend against a physical Stanford team, had issues with an athletic Texas defensive line. Sam Darnold received a lot of pressure and struggled to create running lanes for Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr. They’ve also had a number of penalties that contributed to the offensive struggles. Most of the penalties were false starts which came while USC threatened to score and put the game out of reach.
Chase McGrath: In his first college game the walk-on Freshman Kicker came through in the clutch twice for the Trojans. After hooking a field goal early in the first quarter, McGrath time came once again with two seconds left in the game where the freshman walk-on made the game tying field goal to send the game into overtime. His number would be called again to attempt a 43 yard field goal to win the game. McGrath delivered in a huge way to give USC the 27-24 win in double overtime.