Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week 2: USC vs. Syracuse Game Recap

What I Thought Would Happen:

 This line will be written many times this year, but USC will easily win this game. The offense should not break a sweat in putting up 500 yards of total offense. Look for Syracuse to keep the game interesting for a little over a quarter, but by halftime keep a wandering eye on the other games. There will probably be more compelling television out there.

What Happened:

This was a tricky one. The Trojans played in a time zone they usually reserve for their Orange Bowl games. Toss in a nasty weather delay and there are some excuses to be made. However, this being the University of Southern California, more was expected on Saturday. Matt Barkley boosted his Heisman resume with a 6 TD performance, Robert Woods was his usual explosive self and Silas Redd had his first 100 yard game as a Trojan. The concern stems from what was really a sorry defensive performance from USC. Allowing 29 points to what is admittedly a good passing Syracuse football team does not bode well for PAC-12 play, namely the two expected games against Oregon. I understand that Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 scheme is difficult to gain a grasp of, but this is the third year in charge of the defense and progress needs to be made throughout the season in order to avoid an upset bid. That being said, Ryan Nassib very well could be the best passing quarterback USC faces the rest of the season. Yes, Isiah Wiley is missed more than anticipated, but its not like Drew Brees will be dissecting this defense the rest of the year.

Final Score:

USC 42, Syracuse 29

The Good:

-       I know every pundit in America keeps harping on this point, but the USC offense is just flat out special. Even when the other team is moving the ball relatively well against the USC defense, the USC offense still manages to find time to churn out 40 points.

-       Robert Woods had a very nice game catching the football. The dude is a reception machine and his 10 catch, 2 TD game should go a long way to erase any doubt about who the USC number 1 target is. At this point, it is 1a and 1b.

-       Two Words. Silas Redd. I do not think we will see Curtis McNeal listed solely atop the USC depth chart this year. McNeal is a special talent who will get a ton of carries this year, but it just feels like at worst it should be a Silas Redd or Curtis McNeal situation on the depth chart listing. Lane Kiffin swears we shouldn’t read into the fact that Redd has gotten more carries this year. In the end they will be in the same ballpark as far as carries go, but  get rid of the idea of the backup running back here

The Bad and the Ugly:

-       The defense. Giving up over 300 yards passing is a bad omen. The offense should easily average 40 points a game, but there will be one game when things simply are not clicking. In that game, the defense will be called upon to carry the team.

-       The loss of Khaled Holmes should not be underestimated. Even if it is for a short time, which seems to be the case, Holmes was the veteran leader of the offensive line. Cyrus Hobbi, the redshirt freshman, will take over his spot.

Looking Ahead:

Next Saturday USC will face a tricky encounter on the farm. Win that game, and USC should expect to be 8-0 on November 3rd. However, any one of the remaining teams before that encounter is capable of a shocker, save for Colorado. Therefore, USC must remained focused in its quest for perfection.

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