Pac-10 Week 8 Notes and Observations: USC Trojans
USC Trojans 6-1 Overall (3-1 Conference)
This Week’s Score: USC 42 – Oregon State 36
Next Week’s Opponent: @Oregon
Saturday’s game against Oregon State was a very odd, albeit very fun one. I don’t know if it was just me, but it kind of had that 2005 Fresno State game vibe to it; you never really felt like USC was going to lose, but you never really felt comfortable, either.
This is in no way meant to disrespect Oregon State either, it is just the “feel” that I got from this game. The Beavers are a very real threat in this conference, and they proved it this week.
But getting back to USC, I’m still not quite sure what to make of how the defense has played of late. On the one hand, the Trojans haven’t trailed since those fateful three seconds back in the Washington game in September, so the defense has done its job in allowing the offense to take the lead and holding on to it. On the other hand, surrendering 849 yards and 63 points over the last two games is hard not to be concerned about, especially with an offense like Oregon’s on tap.
Despite two interceptions, Matt Barkley had a pretty nice day, going 15/25 for 202 yards and two touchdowns. It was also good to see Ronald Johnson getting his feet back under him with six catches for 99 yards.
But the real story on offense was the running game, which was extremely effective against an Oregon State team that had been very stingy against the run to this point. Joe McKnight had a solid 65 yards on 11 carries, but it was Allen Bradford who had the huge day, ripping off 147 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. With both the running game and Matt Barkley’s passing game clicking, it’s pretty clear to see why this team has been putting up points in bunches.
The Trojans clearly have the talent and the confidence to shootout with anyone; but against an Oregon team that has been lights out on defense, the Trojans defense will have to be at the top of its game if the team plans on defending its Pac-10 title once again.