Sunday, August 31, 2014
From the Coliseum locker room: USC 52, Fresno State 13
By Greg Katz
LOS ANGELES -- Notes, quotes, and anecdotes from the Coliseum after the Trojans (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) defeated Fresno State (0-1, 0-0 MWC).
USC head coach Steve Sarkisian comments:
Happy days are here again: "That was fun. What a game by these guys, the whole group. I had a staff meeting this morning before we started our preparation, and I was saying I don't even think I need to speak to the team. I don't think they need motivation to play. They are hungry. I felt they practiced great, prep was really good this week, and ultimately we executed well in all three phases (offense, defense, special teams)."
Freshmen pass first test: "We needed them to come in and contribute to have success, knowing they'd have some mistakes but would ultimately help. I am not surprised. We've challenged them and put them in with the 1s, and they've all stepped in and played well."
Offensive line review: "For them to perform and protect Cody (Kessler) the way they did, I was proud of them. Coach Drevno got them ready to play. We tried to keep them fresh. When you get fatigued, that's where mistakes are made, so we tried to keep them as fresh as we could. For the most part, it worked out."
Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter comments:
Overall assessment: "We got out-coached and out-played. You also have to give them a lot of credit. I'm disappointed but not discouraged. We're not ready at this point to compete against a team like USC."
Respecting the Trojans defense: "They are excellent on defense. They are very physical and really talented. They're big up front, their linebackers are physical and their secondary played well."
Physically dominated: "Our guys got worn down a bit in the second halt. It's partly due to who you're going against. Those are some big bodies. It's hard to keep pressure off the quarterback and give him time to throw."
More notes and anecdotes
Key(s) to victory: Trojans junior quarterback Cody Kessler threw for touchdowns of 10 and 5 yards and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in an impressive 21-0 first quarter barrage, and the Men of Troy cruised to a 52-13 victory over Fresno State.
The thermometer: It was 82 degrees at kickoff in the Coliseum at kickoff.
The offensive above scoring average: The Trojans scored 52 points against Fresno State on Saturday. In last season's Royal Purple Bowl in Las Vegas against the Bulldogs, the Trojans scored 45 points.
Cody connects: For the game, Trojans junior quarterback Cody Kessler threw for four touchdowns, ran for another, was 25-of-37 through the air for 394 yards, and rushed for 28 yards. Just has important, he did not throw an interception.
Defensively speaking: The Trojans defense allowed 13 points to Fresno State on Saturday. In last season's Royal Purple Bowl in Las Vegas against the Bulldogs, the Trojans allowed 20 points.
Defensive evaluation: Junior All-America tackle Leonard Williams said, "We had great energy in executing what we've been working on. We stopped the run. There's a lot we still have to work on on the goal line."
Getting offensive: The Trojans had 701 yards in total offense against the Bulldogs on Saturday. The Trojans had 499 yards in total offense against Fresno State in last season's Royal Purple Bowl in Las Vegas.
Whew: The Trojans established a Pac-12 record on Saturday by running 105 offensive plays.
From the trenches: On the newness and effectiveness of the inexperienced offensive line, first-year starting sophomore right tackle Zach Banner said, "It's really amazing. We have three freshmen offensive linemen and somebody new like myself and we give up no sacks. We did good up front. We still need to fix some technical errors, and when we play Stanford, they're a whole different team with different schemes."
Defense stars: Against Fresno State on Saturday, the Men of Troy allowed 317 total yards. In last season's Royal Purple Bowl in Las Vegas against the Bulldogs, the Trojans allowed 253 total yards on defense.
In defense: Regarding the Trojans defensive performance, junior linebacker Anthony Sarao said, "As a first game, I thought we played pretty well. However, overall we didn't play all that well. I am looking forward to playing Stanford and getting back to smashmouth football. In these spread offenses, I hate chasing bubble screens. It's petty to me."
Below the rush: Against Fresno State on Saturday, the Trojans rushed for 277 yards. In last season's Royal Purple Bowl in Las Vegas against the Bulldogs, the Trojans rushed for 154 net yards.
Rush hour: Trojans junior tailback Javorius Allen led the Trojans tailbacks with 133 yards, the fifth time "Buck" has gained at least 100 yards -- all within the last seven games.
Rushing wall: Against Fresno State on Saturday, the Men of Troy allowed 157 net yards rushing. In last season's Royal Purple Bowl in Las Vegas against the Bulldogs, the Trojans defense allowed 37 yards rushing.
The Millionaire: On his thoughts after he scored his first USC touchdown on an 18-yard reception from Cody Kessler in the second quarter, freshman Adoree' Jackson said, "When I caught the ball in the end zone, it was just like I picked up a million dollars off the ground."
Passing the test: On Saturday against Fresno State, the Trojans passed for 424 yards. In last season's Royal Purple Bowl in Las Vegas against the Bulldogs, the Trojans passed for 345 yards.
Fresno perspective: On the Trojans controlling the ball, Fresno State safety Derron Smith said, "We couldn't get off the field in the first half. There were a lot of times where we just couldn't make a tackle or get a stop."
Z for victory: In honor of the late Trojans Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini, the Trojans wore a "Z" on the back of their helmet.
Air raid: On Saturday, the Trojans defense allowed 160 passing yards. In last season's Royal Purple Bowl in Las Vegas against the Bulldogs, the Trojans allowed 216 passing yards.
The flag is up: On Saturday, the Trojans were penalized nine times for 76 yards. In last season's Royal Purple Bowl in Las Vegas against the Bulldogs, the Trojans were penalized 10 times for 101 yards.
Top tacklers: Senior linebacker Hayes Pullard led the Trojans defense with eight tackles followed by junior All-America tackle with seven tackles.
The meat wagon: The lone serious Trojans injury reported afterward was tight end Chris Willson (broken foot).
Sock it to me: The Trojans wore black socks against Fresno State.
Freshman flutters: Describing his emotions of playing in the Coliseum for his first college football game, freshman offensive guard Viane Talamaivao said, "To say I had birds in my stomach is an understatement. I was scared to death. Once you're in it, you become use to it."
Counting the house: Game attendance was 76,037.
The NFL draft: Pro scouts in attendance included the Lions, Panthers, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Browns, and Jets.
Next game: The Trojans open the 2014 Pac-12 Conference season next Saturday at Stanford (12:30 p.m. PDT).