Game Two Wrap-up: Punctuation Marc
A big question mark going into Saturday’s game was whether the USC offensive line and running backs could improve on a dismal opening week performance or continue to run in place against a stout Utah front four. The answer was applied with emphasis, punctuated by Marc Tyler in his return.
The Trojans followed up the 62 yard rushing performance in week one by gaining 152 against Utah. The bulk of the load was carried by Marc Tyler, fresh from suspension and playing in his first game. The senior may not do it with the flash and flare provided by others in the stable, but it is the workhorse approach that was sorely missed. Tyler’s longest run of the day netted only 15-yards, which isn’t going to get your face plastered on Sportscenter ‘Top Plays’. But the quality of each carry (4.7) made for the team’s offensive star, providing a breath of fresh air to a unit desperately in need of balance.
Tyler finished with a game high 113 yards on 24 carries, and scored the game’s first touchdown. He also had one reception for a 19-yard gain.The remainder of the team rushed 15 times, gaining a combined total of 39-yards.
It will be interesting to see what becomes of D.J. Morgan, the surprise starter in week one, who also started in the backfield against Utah. Morgan won the start with great play in camp, but fumbled early in the game on Saturday, while the Trojans were looking to punch it in for another score. He didn’t make another appearance after the costly turnover, Which fits a script for butterfingers going back to last year.
Based on history, you have to wonder when Morgan will be seen again. Lane Kiffin despises fumbles, and is one to make an example of those making the mistake. We saw this a year ago with Allen Bradford, as he quietly disappeared after coughing one up early in 2010, and didn’t regain an offensive presence until the season’s home stretch. With all running backs now listed as co-starters, you would have to think Morgan is realistically at the bottom of the chain.
Playing from ahead
Despite two narrow victories, USC has yet to trail through eight quarters of play. The pattern stitched in the first two games is to build a lead and hang on. It makes for nerve wracking endings, but at least the team is finishing. The Trojans were losers in the majority of close games played last year, so even with the narrow margins in victory, you have to be pleased. The season began with a lot of youth on the field, which will go through growing pains and improve as the games progress. These are in-game training programs, and there’s nothing better than recording victories to go along with it.
So F!cking Special
Song of the day: Radiohead-Creep
Lane Kiffin reached to Fresno State for special teams coach John Baxter, because he said there will come a time when USC will have to weigh heavy on that unit, and it will be the difference between winning and losing. Well, I’d say that time is now. With the exception of failed two-point attempts in the opener, the special teams has performed to excellence.
Matt Kalil has blocked opponent field goal attempts in consecutive weeks, and that is the difference between the Trojans ending regulation tied with their visitors and USC edging for the wins.