LOS ANGELES -- A USC-produced video from the No. 2 Trojans' weekend win over Syracuse shines light on one possible reason why the team's performance wasn't as dominant as expected: the lackluster MetLife Stadium crowd.
The announced crowd at the New York Giants' and Jets' stadium for USC-Syracuse was 39,507. The actual attending crowd was probably between 30-35,000. Either way, the 82,566-seat stadium was less than half-filled, and the Trojans noticed. Coach Lane Kiffin praised his team after the game for winning despite the less-than-ideal conditions, as USC had clearly anticipated a bigger turnout for its farthest road trip of the 2012 season.
"You fly all the way to the East Coast," Kiffin tells his team in the MetLife visitors' locker room B following the game in this video. "You gotta go two days early to a place you've never played at. It's their Super Bowl. And then you come out and all the sudden nobody shows up, so the crowd's dead and you got no juice."
It's safe to say that the Trojans expected a larger, louder crowd at its East Coast tuneup. And it wasn't their fans' fault, either -- there were at least as many USC fans as Syracuse supporters in attendance. It was more of a local issue. Not counting what appeared to be a robust Syracuse student section, there were very few local New Yorkers who went to the game.
What did it mean? Well, the energy was, as Kiffin told his team, severely lacking. The 43,000-plus empty seats were the most the Trojans have played in front of since a November 2001 home game against Oregon State, which they won 16-13.
For contextual purposes, the next game USC played after that one wasn't televised. So those were old times.
Saturday's game at Stanford Stadium should be a sellout, or close to it, so that shouldn't be an issue. And with two more Coliseum home games already sold out and the others nearing that mark, the Trojans won't be playing in front of many bare seats the rest of this year.
And Kiffin can get back to discussing other things in his post-game speeches.