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Three Takeaways from USC’s loss vs Arizona State.

Injuries, Coaching, and Hoops

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Southern California Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

1. Injuries

The last two years of USC football has been a roller coaster, never knowing what will happen, like whether the offense will be unstoppable or rush for negative five yards. But one thing has been consistent: injuries. A year after the offensive line was injured all season, things have not improved this year. Playing without three of their four team captains, all on defense, USC gave up 38 points to Arizona State. Also down two quarterbacks, Jack Sears and the offense could not get anything going until the end of the second quarter and needed a bit of trickery.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Southern California
Talanoa Hufanga (15) left the game with a broken collarbone
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Now with the injuries at safety to Talanoa Hufanga (broken collarbone) and Isaiah Palo-Mao (shoulder) to go along with the departures of Ykili Ross, Bubba Holden, and Jamel Cook, USC is left with three scholarship safeties for the rest of the season: C.J. Pollard, Marvell Tell, and Chase Williams. Tell and Williams were unavailable last week due to minor injuries of their own. Ajene Harris was moved from his nickel back position to safety. The injuries just keep coming. Is the strength and conditioning an issue?

2. For Once, the Coaching Was Solid

Despite the loss, the coaching was not to blame. With the starter being Jack Sears, the third string quarterback who basically had zero reps all year long, to score 35 points is not bad. Giving up 38 points when half the defense is injured is about all one can ask from defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. The second half adjustments were also impressive, as USC outscored Arizona State 21-14 in the second half, not including the touchdown drive by USC at the end of the first half. It was a strong comeback bid, led by some trickery and adjusting Jack Sears to game speed. Despite failing to convert on 4th & 1 when a field goal would have tied the game, more gutsy play calling like that would be nice. However, the coaching has been a problem all year long, and USC is still 4-4.

3. November 6th

That’s the date USC basketball opens their season against Robert Morris. Time to switch gears.