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The USC Trojans walked out of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. with a hard-earned victory over the Syracuse Orange, 42-29, but USC fans immediately wondered whether the game should have been that close in the first place.
There were rough patches in a few areas for USC on Saturday, including in the secondary, where Torin Harris and Anthony Brown were beat on a handful occasions. The guys over at Conquest Chronicles highlighted the hole the departure of Isiah Wiley had created.
Since Isiah Wiley is no longer with the program, a bevy of prospective cornerbacks have been trying to earn the spot next to Nickell Robey. Well, it hasn't gone too well. Anthony Brown and the returning Torin Harris looked incredibly rough today. As Joey tweeted, no Wiley could be a bigger problem than previously anticipated.
Among the strong points of Saturday's victory — including quarterback Matt Barkley's six touchdown passes — was USC's run game. Running backs Curtis McNeal (63 yards) and Silas Redd (107) produced strong showings.
Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal looked sharp carrying the rock. McNeal shouldered the load on the Trojans' first scoring drive, recording 42 yards. Redd went over 100 yards for the first time in his ‘SC career, the highlight being a 40-yard run in the fourth quarter to allow Barkley and Marqise Lee to score their final touchdowns of the day.
For more USC football coverage, make sure to check out Conquest Chronicles.
It wasn't quite as dominant as their season opening win, but the USC Trojans dispatched the Syracuse Orange on Saturday with a 42-29 win behind quarterback Matt Barkley. Six more touchdown passes for Barkley certainly didn't hurt his chances for the 2012 Heisman Trophy.
Barkley tied his own school record with six touchdown passes against Syracuse, the third time he has done so, giving him 90 touchdown passes in his career. Barkley completed 23 of 30 passes for 187 yards with one interception to go with his six scores.
On the season Barkley has thrown for 559 yards and completed 67.6% of his passes, with 10 touchdowns and one interception.
"[Barkley] played really well," head coach Lane Kiffin told the Daily Trojan. "Once again, weird environment today, weather issues, wind issues, and I thought he took care of the ball really well."
In fact, the weather conditions were just about the only thing that could slow down Barkley on Saturday, as the game was delayed for about 45 minutes after halftime with an impending storm coming. After the wait, Barkley threw four of his six touchdowns.
Barkley gets a chance to put up more numbers next weekend as the Trojans travel to Palo Alto to visit the Stanford Cardinal.
For more on the USC Trojans, visit Conquest Chronicles.
The USC Trojans won their season opener by 39 points last week, but still dropped a spot anyway in the Associated Press poll, from No. 1 to No. 2. After their relatively pedestrian 42-29 win over the Syracuse Orange on Saturday, will they drop again on Sunday?
Here is a look at how the AP top 10 fared on Saturday:
So the question is, will the LSU Tigers get bonus points for their dominant win at home over Washington? Will it be enough to overtake USC? Here is a look at the first two AP polls of the season.
|Associated Press Poll Points|
|Alabama||1,411 (17)||1,481 (45)|
|USC||1,445 (25)||1,435 (11)|
|LSU||1,402 (16)||1,382 (4)|
If in theory the Trojans would lose all 11 first place votes to Alabama, then it would take more than 21 voters to flip USC and LSU. Could it happen? Perhaps, but it's still early in the season, and we need something to talk about.
For more on the Trojans, check out Conquest Chronicles.
Robert Woods had 169 yards from scrimmage as USC withstood the push from Syracuse to win 42-29. The Trojans may have been playing in an NFL stadium, but with the upper bowl closed and a light rain throughout the game, USC showed no signs of being intimidated by their surroundings. Even when the second half was delayed by almost an hour due to a passing storm, USC maintained composure throughout the game.
Robert Woods caught ten passes for 93 yards, and also ran a reverse for 76 yards. His 169 combined offensive yards makes him easily the player of the game. Woods also caught two touchdown passes.
The Trojans scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. With the score 21-16, Matt Barkley hit tight end Xavier Grimble on an out pattern. The cornerback played off of him, allowing the end to get up the head of steam to play twenty-two yards into the end zone.
The second touchdown came Marquise Lee's way, a four yard fade route into the end zone. Lee then pulled down his third touchdown catch of the day with 5:45 left in the game as USC's receiving corp showed why they are one of the best in the country. Matt Barkley had an accurate day if not a fantastic day; 23/30 and 186 yards with six touchdown passes tying his school record.
The USC running back duo of McNeal and Redd were able to do much more for the Trojans this afternoon. Silas Redd ran for 107 yards on 15 carries while Curtis McNeal ran 67 yards on 11 yards as the two running backs did much more than the 14 carries they had against Hawaii.
USC had some difficulty with the hurry up offense in the third quarter, but they've got time to work on that before facing Oregon. Next up for the Trojans is a game in Palo Alto against Stanford, then they host California in Los Angeles.
Syracuse has begun to mount a comeback on the strength of a hurry up offense. Syracuse went to the hurry up offense trailing 21-3 and the Trojans had no answer as Ryan Nassib kept hurrying his offense to the line, settling for nickel and dime runs until the defense played shallow enough that he could go deep. Worrying stuff for a team that will see Oregon as their biggest threat to the Pac12 title.
The half began with Syracuse giving USC the opportunity to go up big coming out and throwing an interception on the opening drive of the half. Dion Bailey popped up for his second interception of the day. The man known on twitter as @HeismanWoods showed USC has no shortage of award candidates pulling down his second touchdown catch of the day in the third quarter. Robert Woods caught nine, seventeen, and twelve yard strikes on the drive before hauling in the four yard touchdown pass and looked good doing it. Woods is currently at nine catches for 91 yards.
A 31 yard strike from Nassib on the next drive showed a flaw in the USC defense, and then a Matt Barkley interception gave the ball right back to the hot Orange offense. Syracuse was able to drive from the 50 yard line for a touchdown. Syracuse went for two to pull within three, but USC was able to stop the conversion.
Syracuse has the ball as we head into the fourth quarter.
USC goes into halftime leading Syracuse 14-3 as Matt Barkley has found his form and the school's pair of 1,000 yard rushers have started to find their footing. Syracuse's prolific passer has been kept in check, as early game jet lag has been shrugged off in favor of quality form.
Matt Barkley and Marquise Lee continue to steal the show, combining for USC's first touchdown of the day. A 45 yard drive from inside Syracuse territory, USC finally started stringing some plays together culminating in a 13 yard touchdown pass on a slant over the middle. Lee has one rush for 23 yards and seven catches for 54 yards, while Barkley's piled up a mere 112 yards passing with two TD passes.
That series seemed to shake the rust off Matt Barkley, as he was able to hit Robert Woods running a streak down the right sideline for his second touchdown pass of the day just before halftime. The 29 yard reception pulled Woods to 52 yards on the half.
Things are even starting to heat up for the Trojan running backs. Curtis McNeal finally broke a long one, a 22 yard rush that puts him at 55 yards on the day. Silas Redd has compiled 46 as the pair have combined for 17 rushes; three more than they combined for on the game against Hawaii. The two are doing their best to prove to other teams that USC is not overly reliant on the pass.
USC only managed 71 yards of offense in the first quarter as defense has dominated the game so far with neither the Trojans nor Syracuse getting on the board. The currently 0-0 game hasn't even featured a scoring opportunity yet, but it has been three turnovers on downs and an interception.
USC received the ball to begin, and chose to go for it on fourth and short at around their own forty yard line. The defense was able to get them the ball right back, as linebacker Dion Bailey picked off a desperation pass on a slant as Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib was hit from behind.
Getting stuffed on fourth and one on the first drive didn't stop Lane Kiffin from going for it again on fourth and one on the second drive. This time USC was much more successful, running a reverse to receiver Marquise Lee. This launched USC into field goal range for the first time in the game.
With USC's field goal ticker unavailable, Lane Kiffin decided to go for it again on fourth and twelve. Matt Barkley through for the corner of the end zone, as the third straight series to open the game ended with a turnover.
USC has the ball to start the second quarter. Silas Redd has gotten the most touches to start the game, with five running plays. Curis McNeal has had three for only three yards.
The USC Trojans travel to East Rutherford, NJ to take on the Syracuse Orange in their Week 2 match-up. USC will try to move to 2-0, while Syracuse will be looking for their first win of the season following a heart-breaking loss to Northwestern a week ago. The Trojans are heavy favorites on Saturday, but they still need to execute to assure victory.
SB Nation's Conquest Chronicles took a look at the keys to the game for USC against Syracuse. One of those keys involves the defensive front-four:
2. Will the Trojans be able to generate enough pressure on Nassib?
USC did record four sacks against Nassib last year, but only forced one turnover. As noted in our Q&A with Sean Keeley of Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, Nassib struggled with decision-making in the pocket last year. In the Orange's seven losses, he totaled eight interceptions. In their wins? Nassib totaled just one. He did throw one pick against Northwestern, but that was out of 65 passing attempts. If USC can get to Nassib as they did last week against Hawai'i's Sean Schroeder, then it will relieve a lot of pressure off the Trojans' secondary.
Check out the whole piece to find the rest of the keys for USC. Heisman-candidate Matt Barkley and the Trojans will face the Orange live on ABC at 12:30 p.m. PT.
The second-ranked USC Trojans take on the Syracuse Orange in Week 2 of the college football season, and if you can't wait for USC to try to work their way back up to the top spot, pass the time between now and kickoffs with some quality analysis. SB Nation's Trojans blog Conquest Chronicles has a detailed preview of the game where they breakdown some key questions that need answering. Among the issues they highlight is USC's rushing attack:
Curtis McNeal recorded just five carries for 10 yards, while Silas Redd had nine carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. For Redd, though, 31 of those yards came via his touchdown run. Take that away and both co-starters combined for just 35 yards on 13 carries. D.J. Morgan logged seven carries for 25 yards, but he just underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. As noted in the our preview before the Hawai'i game, this will be an interesting development to watch as the season progresses. It is paramount that the Trojans develop a consistent ground game to complement their passing attack.
Head over and check out the full post for much, much more on USC's Week 2 game.
The USC Trojans (1-0) and the Syracuse Orange (0-1) are set to take the big stage on Saturday, as they face off at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. In the home of the Giants and Jets, Heisman hopeful quarterback Matt Barkley will be looking to put on an entertaining show on what will be his 22nd birthday.
The Trojans are fresh off a 49-10 romping of Hawaii, while Syracuse narrowly lost to Northwestern, 42-41, last weekend. If Syracuse could steal this one, it would probably be the program's greatest victory in over two decades. However, they'll undoubtedly have their hands full with a USC team that's looking to prove to the coaches that dropping them to No. 2 in their poll was a massive mistake.
Barkley is sure to put up some serious fireworks now that Marquise Lee has emerged as one of the nation's most intimidating pass catchers (10 receptions, 197 yards and one touchdown last week). For Syracuse to hang, they'll have to rely on senior quarterback Ryan Nassib (44-of-65, 470 yards and four touchdowns against NW) to put up similar numbers from last week against a far more talented secondary.
Game Time: 12:30 p.m. PT
TV Schedule: ABC
Radio Schedule: 710 ESPN
Odds: USC favored by 26
For news, discussion and more: For more on USC football, head on over to Conquest Chronicles or the Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes. If the Syracuse Orange are more your cup of tea, pay a visit to Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, SB Nation New York or the Big East blog Big East Coast Bias.
USC had five sacks in their season opener against Hawaii.
USC freshman wide receiver Darreus Rogers received clearance from the NCAA Clearinghouse Thursday, officially allowing him to join the USC football team.
Rogers announced the clearance on his Twitter account Thursday.
Im a Trojan just got cleared lets go— Darreus Rogers (@D_Rog5) September 6, 2012
The 6'2" Rogers was ranked as a 4-star recruit by both Scout.com and Rivals.com. He chose USC over Arizona State on signing day. He was unable to join the Trojans for fall camp as he awaited academic clearance from the NCAA. Now that he is cleared, Rogers will add to what was already a talented Trojan wide receiver corps.
Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are locked into the top two spots, but Rogers could join the battle for the No. 3 wide receiver as early as this season. However, the late start puts him behind the other players so he has plenty of ground to make up if he is going to play this season.
The USC Trojans might have been bumped from the top spot in the AP Top 25 poll this week, but that does not take anything away from their dominating performance in defeating the Hawaii Warriors last weekend. The team is now busily preparing for the Syracuse Orange, who lost their season opener to the Northwestern Wildcats in a shootout, 42-41.
Just about every expert in the country is taking the Trojans to win big this weekend. Let's take a look at a few of the picks and what is being said about the matchup.
Ted Miller and Kevin Gemmell of ESPN's Pac-12 Blog:
Kevin: USC 45, Syracuse 17. No issues for the Trojans this week -- they'll cruise. Wouldn't be surprised to see a little more balance on offense this week, considering they are on the road again next week at Stanford and they'll probably want to test drive the run game.
Ted: USC 48, Syracuse 20. It will be interesting to see how many of the three injured USC defensive starters return this week. I suspect things will look more polished on both sides of the ball. Ditto on what Kevin said about running the ball.
Of the seven CBS Sports college football experts and one computer simulation of the game, all eight picked the Trojans to win.
Also be sure to check out Dan Rubenstein of SB Nation Studios and his picks below:
USC Trojans sophomore tailback D.J. Morgan underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee, according to a Los Angeles Times report on Wednesday. The question is, which one?
Morgan, who had one carry for 7 yards in the Trojans' season-opening 49-10 win against Hawaii, had reconstructive surgery on his right knee after injuring it in high school. Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin did not specify whether that knee had been reinjured or whether this surgery was performed to treat a new injury. He also did not give a timetable for Morgan's return.
Depth at tailback was a known issue coming into the Trojans' 2012 campaign, and Morgan's injury makes a thin backfield even thinner. Penn State transfer Silas Redd is expected to carry the bulk of the rushing load on Saturday in the Trojans' Week 2 matchup with Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.. He joins senior Curtis McNeal and redshirt freshman Javorius Allen as the only scholarship tailbacks available for the game.
As the USC Trojans prepare for their matchup with the Syracuse Orangemen this weekend, a couple of defensive playmakers will likely be back to play in linebacker Lamar Dawson and cornerback Torin Harris.
CB Torin Harris says he's finally healthy: "I'm back." Role in Syracuse game TBD. Same goes for LB Lamar Dawson.— Michael Lev (@LevOnUSC) September 5, 2012
Linebacker Lamar Dawson said he is ready to ``get on the field and make plays.''— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 5, 2012
Both of these men are important cogs to the Trojans' defensive machine, a machine that allowed only 10 points in its season opener against Hawaii. Hopefully with the addition of these two it will be more of the same against the Orangemen.
For more on the USC Trojans, please check out Conquest Chronicles. For more on the Pac-12, please head over to Pacific Takes. For more on college football in general, head over to SB Nation's dedicated college football hub.
Matt Barkley told the media that the USC Trojans drop from the top spot in the AP poll this week wasn't weighing too heavily on his mind with the high-scoring Syracuse Orange on deck, according to Inside USC.
The Alabama Crimson Tide hopped the Trojans in the poll, though USC also moved higher in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, also coming in at No. 2.
The more immediate worry is the Orange and more specifically, quarterback Ryan Nassib. A three-year starter, Nassib went for 512 yards of total offense in Syracuse's 42-41 loss to Northwestern in their first game of 2012. He went 44-of-65 for 470 yards through the air.
Said USC coach Lane Kiffin per the Los Angeles Times:
"We're going to need to play better and make more plays on the ball, in the secondary specifically," USC Coach Lane Kiffin said.
Luckily for Kiffin, the injury-depleted Trojans expect defensive end Wes Horton, linebacker Lamar Dawson and cornerback Torin Harris to be ready to play this week, according to the Los Angeles Times. All three missed the win over Hawaii.
After No. 1 USC won its opener against Hawaii 49-10, the Trojans left their depth chart untouched for Saturday's game against Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J.
Quarterback Matt Barkley, among the handful of elite preseason Heisman hopefuls, passed for 372 yards and four touchdowns against Hawaii. The Trojans' first play from scrimmage of the season was a short pass to Marqise Lee that Lee broke for a 75-yard touchdown.
Lee later returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
Silas Redd, the Penn State transfer starting in his first game for USC, led USC in rushing with 56 yards and a touchdown. That included a 31-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
Starting middle linebacker Lamar Dawson is listed first on the depth chart. He did not play against Hawaii after missing much of preseason camp recovering from a torn calf muscle.
The Trojans kick off against Syracuse on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT. The game will be televised nationally on ABC.
The USC Trojans, fresh off their 49-10 win over Hawaii on Saturday at the Coliseum, head to New Jersey's MetLife Stadium this week to face heavy underdog Syracuse Saturday at 12:30 PT.
The Trojans have been installed as 25 1/2 point favorites already for this game. The Orange (0-1) lost a heartbreaker in the closing seconds when Northwestern scored a late touchdown to win 42-41 at the Carrier Dome.
The Trojans should have some success running the ball, and their passing offense will certainly test the Syracuse secondary. But 'Cuse can light up the stats board with offensive numbers, too. They totaled almost 600 yard of total offense against Northwestern.
With USC's ability to score so quickly, the odds seem more likely to remain where they are, if not go up . Matt Barkley threw five TDS against the Orange last year in L.A. when the teams played, and USC won 38-17.
For more on the USC Trojans, make sure to check out Conquest Chronicles.