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Washington State vs. USC: Live Game Grades and Analysis for the Trojans

Aug 29, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; Southern California Trojans receiver Marqise Lee (9) carries the ball against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Aloha Stadium. USC defeated Hawaii 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2013

Washington State upset No. 25 USC in the Colesium on Saturday night, winning an ugly offensive affair by the score of 10-7.

Current Score: USC 7, Washington State 10 – FINAL

For the full box score, check out the official NCAA GameCenter.

Game Analysis for the USC Trojans

Pass Offense: It's hard to imagine things getting any worse. Cody Kessler and Max Wittek combined to go 13-for-23 with 51 yards, two interceptions and one pick-six. Even with Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor, this looked like one of America's worst passing offenses.

Run Offense: Tre Madden was the only good thing going for USC's offense, finishing the game with 147 yards on 31 carries. Unless something changes, he and Silas Redd will need to carry the load all season.

Pass Defense: Came up with three turnovers and shut down, for the most part, a Mike Leach-led offense. But it also allowed a crucial 49-yard pass to Dom Williams on 3rd-and-9 in the fourth quarter. 

Run Defense: Washington State never got anything going on the ground. Including Connor Halliday's numbers, USC held the Cougars to 18 yards on 23 carries. That's about the only positive USC can take from this game.

Special Teams: Things unraveled in the second half, when consecutive field goals were blocked and missed wide left. In a 10-7 game, those are fatal mistakes.

Coaching: Kiffin gave one of the least inspired play-calling performances in recent memory. Especially by playing for two third-quarter field goals (which missed), he might have cost USC the game.

First-half Analysis for the USC Trojans

Pass Offense: More of the same from Kessler and the passing game. They haven't once looked downfield and Kessler is averaging 2.5 yards per attempt. A pick-six to end the half, which tied the game, was inexcusable...to put it lightly.

Run Offense: Silas Redd is still injured, but Tre Madden looks decent (albeit unspectacular) once again. He's averaging 3.45 yards per carry on 11 rushes. Kessler scored on a nicely drawn-up bootleg, too.

Pass Defense: WSU has moved the ball in bunches, but three timely turnovers have made a big difference. The Cougars would have had a touchdown, but River Cracraft dropped a wide-open pass in the end zone.

Run Defense: Teondray Caldwell and Marcus Mason averaged 7.38 yards per carry against Auburn. USC held them to 27 on 10 carries in the first half. Even dropping extra guys in coverage, the defensive front has looked stout.

Special Teams: Prior to an end-of-half shank, Kris Albrado was averaging 44 yards per punt. USC is only allowing 2.5 yards per punt return, too.

Coaching: Offensive play-calling remains a mystery. There's no vertical threat, no pretense of creativity and a bunch of negative plays. Clancy Pendergast has the defense rolling, though.

 

 

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