It wasn’t pretty, but the USC Trojans managed to avoid disaster and capture their first road victory over the Colorado Buffaloes 35-31. The Trojans were down by as many as ten points heading into the fourth quarter and dangerously facing the possibility of being defeated by the Buffaloes for the first time ever. Now USC turns their focus on a primetime matchup with the Oregon Ducks. Before we turn the page on Friday night’s game, we look at what we learned from USC’s victory over Colorado.
This team is resilient
Let’s call it what it is. USC is a resilient team. Last season it felt as if the Trojans just caved in when things got tough which led to blowout losses. Things weren’t going USC’s way on Friday and could've easily gotten out of hand, however the team managed to keep battling back and it ultimately payed off. If there’s anything we can take away from this season its that these Trojans will play hard and fight every game no matter who the opponent is.
Once again Slovis showed his poise and worked through his freshman moments to lead the USC offense down the field on scoring drives. While he wasn’t very accurate and threw his first interception since the BYU game, the true freshman managed to throw for 409 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air against a Colorado pass defense that’s ranked as the worst in the conference. Two of the touchdowns came during the fourth quarter where Slovis relied on one of the Trojans most consistent wide receivers in senior Michael Pittman Jr. The two connected for a 44 yard and 37 yard touchdown to bring the Trojans back for the win. Slovis also made key passes in late situations to Tyler Vaughns and true freshman Drake London.
Defense took a step back
Friday night’s performance was huge step backwards from their performance against Arizona. Now some of that could be due to the amount of injuries to starters on the defense, but that didn’t stop them last week. The had issues containing the edges and wrapping up which led to bigger gains for the Buffaloes. Their issues with scrambling quarterbacks remains an issue as Colorado quarterback Stephen Montez managed to get loose to extend plays and drives. The Trojans also couldn't record a sack until the fourth quarter of the game. The defense also had problems covering crossing routes and allowed Colorado’s playmaker Laviska Shenault Jr. to have a big game with 9 receptions for 179 yards and 1 touchdown reception. Despite that, the defense managed to buckle down when the team needed it the most late in the game. With Oregon coming to town, Clancy Pendergast and the USC defense will have to patch up their tackling miscues. The Ducks will look to expose those issues with containment and tackling.
Amon-Ra St. Brown showing his versatility
USC offensive coordinator got creative by finding new ways to get the ball into St. Brown’s hands Friday night. We saw the sophomore wide receiver motion and line up in the back field on a few occasion, one leading to a 37 yard touchdown run to start things off in the game. Colorado does the same with Laviska Shenault Jr. by lining him up in multiple spots on the field. Could this be the start of something new for St. Brown? It’s unknown at this point and something worth keeping an eye on, but all fans can do is hope that it’s a new wrinkle that Harrell continues by lining up his receivers in different areas to create matchup problems.