USC is on thin ice as they try to skate through the rest of the season without adding another loss to their record. In their latest game, it was the Utah Utes that nearly landed the final knockout blow to USC’s 2017 season. Whether it was because of luck or their incredible drive under pressure, the Trojans managed to narrowly escape a loss that would have certainly put an end to their national championship aspirations. Even when it seemed their season was about to go up in flames and then put out by the tears of devastated fans, USC proved that their head is in the game and their hat is still in the ring.
Despite their efforts that moved their record to 6-1, USC continued their dominating trend of comeback wins. It is an all too familiar storyline to witness USC perform poorly in the first half, and then come storming back to claim the win in the second half after pulling their heads from out of the clouds. Out of seven games, USC has trailed in the fourth quarter five times. At this point, USC has definitely exposed a pattern of taking a significant amount of time to get into the groove of things. This could prove to be detrimental to the outcome of their upcoming games as their opponents have most definitely taken note of the Trojans lack of effectiveness in the first half.
Another persistent issue for the Trojans has been their rate of turnovers. USC is among the highest for turnovers in the nation with thirteen in six weeks. Against Utah, USC fumbled the ball away three times in the first half alone. Along with the fumbled ball went any opportunity of potentially successful drives; not to mention practically handing Utah more time on the clock to drive down the field, which consequentially tires out the defense. It is truly a wonder how USC fights through and comes out with a win because the odds are heavily stacked against any team that turns over the ball so many times.
USC obviously did not have a game that was absent of errors and flaws. It is all to easy to point out their shortcomings, but they did do well on some levels that are worth pointing out.
First and foremost, this was Sam Darnold‘s first game of the season without throwing an interception. That itself is worth a celebration. Also, USC’s defense played a key role in the team’s comeback after redeeming themselves in the second half by forcing four consecutive punts. As a result, USC’s offense had some dominating drives that kept the chains moving closer and closer into enemy territory. Contrary to their previous games, USC had great success on third and fourth downs. Once they were able to establish a rhythm, they found themselves making effective plays, gaining yardage, and attacking the scoreboard.
USC is indeed a frustrating team to root for. Even though they have demonstrated the ability to pull themselves out of the holes that they dig themselves into, it is like watching two different teams. They disappoint fans with their dreadful performance in the beginning and then make them proud by performing a miracle at the last minute. It begs the question, is USC really as good as people say they are or believe them to be? Their performance throughout games have been decent, but not that of an elite team, yet the simple fact is that pretty or ugly, they have six games in the win column.