USC Trojan Report Card: Oregon 47 USC 20


The one thing Trojan fans can take consolation in is that the best team won.

Nothing cheap, no luck involved, simply the best team won.

I am sure that many Trojan diehards will take offense at this notion, and will complain that I am giving too much credit to the Ducks but the facts speak for themselves.

I wrote an article this week suggesting that it would take a complete effort on the part of the Trojans to escape Autzen with a victory and sadly, for the Trojans, this was not to be.

In the last eight years, I have not personally witnessed a more abysmal effort than the Trojans displayed against Oregon and it was this lack of defensive prowess that doomed the Trojans to defeat.

So lets get to it, this Trojan report card, one that will be sent home to the BCS condemning USC to the Holiday bowl, if they are lucky:



Pete Carroll will have you believe that it was all Jeremiah Masoli’s ability to be creative on broken plays that made the difference in this game.

Uh, bullcrap Pete.

The defensive game plan was horrible and it was compounded by Carroll’s defensive corps inability to tackle anyone.

Grade: F

Defensive Line:

Whether it was Masoli, James or any other Duck, the Trojans simply could not tackle anyone. Rarely has a Pete Carroll defense acquitted itself so miserably.

Grade: F


Perhaps the only redeeming feature to a loss like this is the ability for this writer to economize my words. So, here it is:

See the comments for the defensive line.

Grade: F

Defensive Secondary:

See the comments for the defensive line.

Grade: F



I can’t really fault Jeremy Bates for the Trojans lack of offensive prowess, especially in the second half. Because of the hole the defense put the offense in, there wasn’t much Bates could do. Bates play calling in the first half was adequate although some might say that the lack of a running attack put too much pressure on Barkley who threw over twenty times in the first half. It should be noted that the Trojan offense played without Anthony McCoy, Kristofer O’Dowd, David Ausberry, and Stanley Havili among others.

Grade: C+


Matt Barkley did the best he could under the circumstances. Stuck in a continual cycle of playing catch up, Barkley, especially in the second half, had little opportunity to do anything other than hope that at least once the defense would hold and give him a chance to work some magic on the offensive side of the ball.

Barkley’s hopes were dashed all game long.

Grade: C+

Running backs:

Joe McKnight did some nice things when it was still a competitive game. Allen Bradford continued his maddening habit of playing well in one game and disappearing in the next.

Grade: C

Offensive Line:

At least six penalties were called on the line for false starts and illegal procedure. Yes, Autzen is loud but this was a lack of discipline. The offensive line opened up some decent holes for McKnight and protected Barkley fairly well, but the penalties were killers.

Grade: D+


Both Damien Williams and Ronald Johnson had some nice catches. Brandon Carswell got some playing time and made the most of it. Where was Brice Butler though? Given the fact that McCoy, Ausberry and others were not available, this unit may have been the best the Trojans had to offer.

Grade: B-

Special Teams:

The Trojans first kickoff was returned some seventy plus yards setting the tone for the crowd who was into the game from that point forward. Made field goals give this unit a passing grade.


Grade: C+


Trojan fans have been spoiled for the last few years and when a game like this occurs, Trojan faithful may be tempted to jump off the ledge.


While this game was NOT an aberration, in that the Ducks are just a better team right now, there is plenty of hope for the future. As long as one doesn’t consider the future to be this year. This defense is just plain bad right now.

The last two games against Notre Dame and Oregon State obviously were not flukes and Pete Carroll has his work cut out for him both in getting back to fundamentally sound defensive football and restoring the confidence to a unit who must be shaken very badly.

Good luck Pete.