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Hits & Misses: USC vs. Colorado

A big second quarter lifts the USC Trojans over the Colorado Buffaloes, ending their campaign for an undefeated season. Here’s a look at the good and the bad from the game.

Colorado v USC Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images


USC Defense

Colorado v USC Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Anyone who has watched a USC game this year knows that this is the best the defense has played by far. Whether it was the match-up or the bye week, the Trojans defense played lights out. They finally got their first touchdown of the season off of a pick six from Ajene Harris while also sacking Buffaloes quarterback Steven Montez four times. The Trojans also had a whopping 16 tackles for loss. Even with Cameron Smith out, USC finally clicked on defense and played flawlessly. Palaie Gaoteote IV filled in perfectly for Smith and led the Trojans with nine total tackles, although he did leave the game early after a brutal hit on Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. The Trojans held Montez to just 170 yards passing and a 23.3 QBR and were also able to slow down a usually deadly Shenault Jr. in the passing game as he only had 72 yards receiving.

Michael Pittman Jr.

Colorado v USC Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

USC fans have been waiting all season long for Michael Pittman Jr. to have a breakout game. Against Colorado, Pittman had five receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He and JT Daniels certainly found their chemistry in this game which will hopefully continue throughout the rest of the season.

Pittman Jr. was voted the Player of the Game by USC fans.

JT Daniels’ Confidence

Daniels started out this game looking like a true freshman. On the Trojans first play from scrimmage Daniels threw a lousy interception. Just a few drives later he threw another bad throw that ended up being an interception. With that said, Daniels didn’t let those mistakes shake his confidence and he kept firing away as he tossed three touchdown passes in the second quarter alone. Even though Daniels makes these freshman mistakes, he continues to learn from them and gets better throughout each game.



Colorado v USC Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

It feels like beating a dead horse but USC once again struggled with penalties. After having 18 penalties at Arizona Clay Helton vowed to be more disciplined and clean things up. Well, that didn’t happen. The Trojans had 13 penalties in this game against Colorado. There’s a saying, “you play how you practice.” When there’s no discipline in practice, there’s no discipline in games and it’s showing for the Trojans.


Outside of the second quarter, the Trojans really struggled on the offensive side of the ball. They just haven’t found a way to come together yet and continue to make unnecessary mistakes. Daniels had the two interceptions, the run game couldn’t get going, receivers were running into each other while running their routes, and once again there’s the penalty problem. You can blame it on the coaching, or lack thereof, or you can blame it on the execution by the players. Either way, the Trojans have too much talent to be struggling with simple mistakes halfway through the season.