Saturday, September 10, 2011
By Pedro Moura
Matt Barkley looked good overall and Robert Woods was able to fight through frequent double-teams for another impressive performance, but USC still didn't establish a legitimate No. 2 option. Xavier Grimble was looking like one before he fumbled; Rhett Ellison was mentally not there.
Marc Tyler couldn't have had a much better return to the field, taking carries like the No. 1 running back right away and getting more than 100 yards on the ground. Starter D.J. Morgan may have lost his spot with his first-half fumble in the red zone.
IN THE TRENCHES
There was definite improvement from the offensive line as compared to the opener, but holes were still evident. On defense, the front four again produced consistent pressure on Utah and quarterback Jordan Wynn but only got two sacks to show for it. 'B's for both lines.
Both of Utah's touchdowns came off of USC turnovers, so the defense gets some credit for that. But the main reason the defense earns the 'A' is this: There was no fourth-quarter letdown, for the second straight week. The Trojans held up well late in the game.
Andre Heidari's 47-yard field goal in the first half turned out to be big, but Kyle Negrete had a horrible night punting the ball and USC's kickoff team also struggled. Nickell Robey had trouble getting going returning punts until Woods replaced him late.
There were no misguided two-point conversion attempts, so Lane Kiffin won't be getting as much postgame flak this week. But he once again proved to not be very loyal to his players. Morgan didn't get a single carry after he coughed up the ball.