By Mykell Mathieu
Sports Reporter 

The Trojans offense put on a show as the defense continues to find its way

 

September 14, 2023

George Laase

USC's strong safety, Calen Bullock #7, up-ends Spartan running back Kairee Robinson.

USC dominated the University of Nevada, 66-14 last Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Coming into this season the expectation was that this would once again be one of the best offenses in the country and so far USC hasn't failed. The Trojans offense scored 35 points in the first half alone.

Caleb Williams, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner finished the game with 361 total yards (319 passing & 42 rushing) completing 18/24 passes with five passing touchdowns. Four of Williams' five touchdowns went to four different receivers. Tahj Washington caught two of those touchdown passes. Washington finished the game with three catches for 75 yards.

To most of us we see greatness from Williams every week, but his coach still believes his star quarterback has to continue improving every week. "I can't say I'm disappointed with how he's played, but he's got to get better," said USC head coach Lincoln Riley after the game. "Everybody wants to look at the score and just write the story, and there's so much to it. There are some things he's done really well, especially the situational ball, and some understandings defensively have improved, but we've had a handful of plays in both games that we both want back."

George Laase

USC freshman Zachariah Branch accounted for 232 offensive yards against San Jose State last Saturday night.

The talk will be all about the offense, but we can't overlook the performance by the Trojans' defense. After giving up a touchdown on Nevada's first offensive drive, the Trojans dominated the rest of the way. Before the starters sat in the fourth, the Trojans defense allowed only 226 total yards, sacking the Wolk Pack's quarterback four times and forcing two fumbles.

The one fumble the defense recovered was scooped up for a fourth quarter score by 275-pound defensive lineman Stanley Ta'ufo'ou. "When big people score, football is more fun." Riley said with a smile.

The defense will play a vital part this season if the Trojans plan to win the Pac-12 championship in its final season in the conference. The defense will have its first true test when USC opens up its Pac-12 slate Saturday night against Stanford at the Coliseum at 7:30 p.m.

 

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