Thursday, September 29, 2022

USC Conclusions: Trojan Defenders Controversy Arises

When USC star receiver Drake London was whisked away from the Colosseum field with tears in his eyes and a cast on his right ankle, any hope of rescuing the Trojans this season seemed to disappear with him. USC managed to get away with a victory, but Saturday’s aftermath could spill over into the rest of the season.

Here’s what else we learned from the victory of the Trojans over Arizona (41–34).

Defender controversy

Freshman Jackson Dart was expected to get some shots and possibly play a few episodes on Saturday in his long-awaited comeback from a meniscus injury. What we didn’t expect was Dart becoming the quarterback for the decisive spurt at the end of the fourth quarter, with USC only leading on touchdown.

“It’s tough,” said starter Kedon Slovis. “Obviously you want to participate. You think you give your team a better chance of winning, but that is the coach’s decision. “

USC interim coach Donte Williams said the Dart game at this defining moment of the game was part of the original plan to switch both quarterbacks. But once on Saturday, the coaches have already adjusted their plans, which gave Slovis an additional impetus to open the game.

With the game on the line, the Trojan’s coaches chose to trust Dart over their two-time All-Pac-12 passer. If they had gone to Darth during the game’s most important drive just because their previous plan had insisted on it … well, that might say even more about the decision-making of these staff.

“I don’t care what the score is, we were going to play with him,” said attack coordinator Graham Harrell. “I am completely confident in any of them.”

Anyway, USC has questions for the quarterback. Again. Of the two, Slovis was the more polished at the start of the match, but he had a hard time in the third quarter after he returned to the game. He finished a 15-of-21 pass for 204 yards and two touchdowns with poor interception, which he blamed for failing to feel the adjustments made by the Arizona defense. Dart, meanwhile, finished 12 of 18, 109 yards and two touchdowns.

No defender said he knew where Williams plans to move next. Williams wouldn’t talk much about it either.

“We will continue to do what we need to do to win the soccer game,” Williams said.

Keaontay Ingram breaks free

USC runner Keaontay Ingram struck the first strike against Arizona in the fourth quarter on October 30, 2021.

USC runner Keontey Ingram holds the ball in the first down against Arizona. He rushed for his best 204 yards in 27 transfers.

(Luis Cinco / Los Angeles Times) #

Lost in the chaos of injury to London and a split with two quarterbacks was a stunning performance from running back Keontey Ingram, who, after 138 yards against Notre Dame, posted a record 204 yards against Arizona.

When London was out, Ingram was the backbone of the USC offense, running and dragging defenders with him in almost every game. On Saturday, Williams pointed to the running game as the Trojans’ main bright spot.

“[Ingram] crazy, ”said Jalen Mackenzie, who replaced John Monheim in the correct tackle. “He got angry. We feel it. It turns us all on. “

Ingram was assisted by the offensive line, which improved jumping and restraints in opening holes in the running game. But that line of attack also hurt Ingram in spurts, as 88 possible yards were eliminated from the penalty spot.

“He could have had about 300 people without fines,” Mackenzie said. “It’s all our fault.”

Still needs to be done

The USC (4-4 overall, 3-3 Pac-12 Conference) may breathe a sigh of relief after attempting a comeback from losing Arizona (0-8, 0-5), but the Trojans are not celebrating this victory.

“We’re trying to go to the conference championship, so we need to play better than this win,” McKenzie said, pointing out the wide-open nature of Pac-12 South. “Victory is victory, but we like to win more than that. This is unacceptable by our standards. “

The USC failed to score a touchdown in the second half, it took two field goals to keep the Arizona team, which has not won a game since 2019. Touchdown at 66 yards on Ingram. The USC had nine 100-yard penalties.

“This is unacceptable,” Williams said, noting that there were seven penalties in the second half as the USC tried to maintain its 21-point advantage at half-time.

Harrell admitted that the Trojans calmed down in the second half. The fight in the third quarter dragged on again when the team pressed on a shot for a field goal. USC has lost 70-44 points in the third quarter this season.

On the defensive, USC allowed Arizona to hit season records in points (34) and yards (466), while the minor lost 339 yards in the air.

Nobody is at home

The reported attendance of 52,435 was the second low for USC at home this season, behind only a 19:30 opening match against Oregon of 51,564. Saturday’s tally is roughly 70% of the Colosseum’s capacity, but the stands looked only 40-50% full in the middle of the first quarter. Even most of the students did not apply until a few minutes after the start of the game.

Having so many empty seats to play on returning home shows how far the program has gone. The new coach must not only solve the many problems on the pitch, but also find a way to bring the disappointed fans back.

Nation World News Desk
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