Saturday, October 13, 2012
Grades: USC 24, Washington 14
By Pedro Moura
SEATTLE -- No. 11 USC battled past some second-half troubles to top Washington, 24-14, on Saturday at CenturyLink Field. Here's a report card for the Trojans:
Yeah, 10 completions isn't really going to cut it. Matt Barkley didn't attempt a ton of passes, but his attempts weren't particularly effective anyway. Robert Woods did show some impressive explosiveness. Marqise Lee's best play was called back because of a penalty. Only four receivers caught passes.
Silas Redd had a fantastic first quarter and a strong second, then stayed in the locker room after halftime and wasn't quite the same when he returned to the game later. Curtis McNeal was effective, as usual, as the No. 2 runner. No real chances for D.J. Morgan.
IN THE TRENCHES
Too many penalties on the USC offensive line, but, in general, the players were able to produce room for Redd and McNeal to run. The tackles were still occasionally smoked around the edge. The Trojans' D-line hasn't had a bad game yet, and Morgan Breslin and Leonard Williams are two dominant newcomers.
Not a perfect performance, but USC's defense made big plays when it needed to. Dion Bailey had an impressive first-quarter pick to get the Trojans going, and Jawanza Starling's fourth-quarter strip might have been the play of the game. Both players made more plays, too. Torin Harris missed the second half, but Josh Shaw stepped in just fine at corner.
Anthony Brown's blocked punt and scoring return was huge, so that helps keep this unit from a much lower grade. Nickell Robey was very shaky as a punt returner, muffing two fair catches, and Andre Heidari had a second-half field-goal attempt blocked.
At times, Lane Kiffin can be an inventive and intelligent play-caller. This was not one of those times. It seemed too often USC was in a third-and-long scenario and Kiffin was calling for a run to hedge his bets and get a little bit better field position. The third quarter continues to plague Kiffin's squad.