from Colonel Mustard
That was an extremely disappointing performance against USC. We had our time on the big stage and were overwhelmed. The gap between USC and us has gotten wider than it was last year. The fact that the team didn't give up was a positive sign. This game does not make or break our season, but it is definitely a benchmark. We must hope that the blowout loss does not damage the psyche of the team. There is a lot of season left and fortunately we will not see another team like USC.
Offensively, the running game was useless when the game was in doubt. We moved the ball effectively through the air for the entire game. I very pleased that the receivers did a good job of holding on to the ball. That was an improvement and a very positive sign. Sam's two picks were unfortunate but USC was moving at will anyway and those mistakes didn't affect the outcome of the game. He probably felt he had to score every time we had the ball because the defense was getting run over. The line was being defeated, which hurt the running game. But as I said before the season, Glenn needs to be the feature back and Lucky in a third-down role. If Glenn is healthy he is our best overall back.
The defense was simply overwhelmed in this game. Wake ran reverses and used finesse to gain an advantage in the running game. These guys just lined up and ran over us. The pass defense was hard to judge because USC didn't have to pass. Without a doubt USC ability to run right over us with basic plays was the most depressing part of our performance and a deep concern for the rest of the season.
The special teams have improved in every facet and have been a bright spot this year.
The game told us that the gap between USC and us has widened. What does that mean to the progress that our program is making? The positive view is that USC is the great team it is touted to be and we just ran into a juggernaut. The negative view is that USC is still good and that we have regressed. The next games at home should be wins, which would put us at 4-1. Each of the last seven games is winnable and by the same token we aren't markedly better than any of them. This game certainly doesn't ruin our season if the team doesn't have its confidence damaged by the loss. How the team overcomes this disappointing loss will tell us a great deal about our players and coaches.
Keep the faith. GBR.
-- The Colonel