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USC Football

USC Scoop's Winners and Losers: Week 2 vs. Arizona

November 14, 2020

Whew, where do I start? After another nail-biting finish, the Trojans are 2-0, but no one is satisfied. Last week there were more excuses for the Trojans. ASU is a solid team with not a lot of film to be studied. Plus, it was the first game of the season at 9 AM. But this week? I have nothing. USC was playing an Arizona team replacing multiple starters, a new defensive coordinator, and was a team that had not played a real football game in nearly a year. With that being said, here are some of my grades from USC’s 34-30 victory over the Wildcats.

Winners: Drake Jackson, Marlon Tuipulotu

I thought long and hard about this and part of me wanted to say that no one deserved to be in this category. However, USC simply does not win this game without Tuipultou and Jackson being game-breakers and I think they should be credited for that. While Jackson was battling a mysterious issue for much of the game, Tuipulotu single-handedly blew up multiple Wildcat plays. He finished with a team-high 8 tackles and was a force on the field. As for Jackson, he was electric as long as he was on the field. He finished with 2 sacks, including a huge one on the penultimate play of the game that forced the Wildcat out of even Hail Mary range.

Losers: Red-Zone Offense, QB Contain, and Discipline

I could’ve gone a few different directions here, but decided it was best to leave it in categories. We’ll start with the offense. Like last week, USC had no problem moving the football. However, instead of turnovers in the red zone this week, it was a mix of bad playcalling and horrible execution that haunted the Trojans. Time after time, USC tried to run the inside zone when everyone in Tuscon, Los Angeles, and the rest of the country watching the game knew it was coming. At some point, there needs to be a wrinkle added to keep the defense off-balance.

As for the defense, the story is simple. Grant Gunnell, known to be a pocket passer, rushed for 40 yards to extend multiple drives, and it wasn’t late until the 4th quarter where the Trojans were able to corral the 6-6 quarterback. Overall, it was another lackluster performance from Coach Orlando’s unit and they’ll have to improve, fast. 

Over the last few seasons, Clay Helton has mentioned shifting his focus from the Xs and Os to the “fundamentals of the game”. Well this week, USC has 11 penalties for 110 yards. That’s simply unacceptable and is summed up perfectly in the sequence where a false start and a delay of the game push the Trojans back from the 1-yard line to the 11, where Parker Lewis then missed the field goal. It’s these types of mistakes that have cost the Trojans ball games over the years and almost did once again today.

Tags: Football
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