Print and Go Back ESPN.com: USC Trojans [Print without images]

Sunday, September 29, 2013
Inside the locker room: Notes from Tempe

By Greg Katz

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Notes, quotes, and anecdotes from Sun Devils Stadium after the Trojans (3-2, 0-1 Pac-12) lost to Arizona State (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12 ) 62-41.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin comments

Opening statement: "Unfortunately, a disastrous third quarter for us was a big part of the game. The first half seemed to go back and forth -- two critical turnovers for us in the first half. We had a dropped pass on the post route going out, and it ended up being an interception for them and a big play. In the third quarter we went down the field and scored, and then it went downhill from there."

The surprise: "You'll never assume there's going to be 100 points with these two defenses and close to 1,000 yards. Unfortunately we didn't play very good defense today -- gave up a bunch of explosive plays, a bunch of back-shoulder throws, and we only created one turnover."

Taylor Kelly
Quarterback Taylor Kelly accounted for 430 yards and threw three touchdown passes Saturday.
Getting offensive: "Offensively, we gave up the ball over four times, and you're not going to win games with a minus-3 turnover margin on the road. The bye (week) is coming at a good time. We are, obviously as you can see, an extremely beat-up team, so we'll need guys to step up and play like some guys did in the second half."

On the left knee injury to wide receiver Marqise Lee: "Obviously it didn't look very good. It didn't sound very good or look very good."

On being on the hot seat: "I'm fine with that. I have been dealing with that for 12 months. That's fine. That's the last thing I'm worried about. We have to find a way to coach better and play better and get our backups ready."

Arizona State head coach Todd Graham comments

On the Trojans: "They had a heck of a game plan. A lot of new stuff we had not seen. We gave up three touchdowns there late that stressed me out; we don't need to be doing that."

O-line dominance: "Our offensive line brought it. They flat got after it and dominated the line of scrimmage. For the first time since I have been here, tempo destroyed the other team. That other defense is one of the best defenses in the nation. They are pretty dang good, and our guys just put up 612 yards of offense on them and 62 points."

Respecting the Trojans offense: "They hurt us schematically worse than anyone else we have played."

More notes and anecdotes

Key(s) to victory: Arizona State scored 42 second-half points, including 28 straight in the third quarter, headlined by Sun Devils corner Alden Darby's 46-yard touchdown interception of Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler, to blitz the Men of Troy 62-41.

The offensive scoring average: The Trojans scored 41 points against Arizona State. Coming into the game, the Trojans were averaging 22.2 points per game.

QB Kessler, on his offensives performance and the loss: "This one hurts; I mean, I feel that our offense played a pretty good game. There were definitely mistakes and turnovers that were there, but we still should have put some more points up on the board."

Rush to defend: Before the Arizona State game, the Trojans defense was allowing a net total of 59.2 yards rushing per game. Against the Sun Devils, the Trojans allowed 261 yards rushing.

Getting defensive: Trojans defensive end Devon Kennard said, "We just didn't execute. They scored 62, but we know we have a great defense. There are things that we need to change, but we just have to get back to work. I think we did fine in the first half, but in the second half it seemed like they were chipping us."

It's offensive: Before the Arizona State game, the Trojans were averaging 340 yards per game in total offense. Against the Sun Devils, the Trojans had 542 total yards on offense.

Grimble analysis: Trojans tight end Xavier Grimble said, "We definitely left some things out there today. You're never going to win with four turnovers. That killed us; it's the story of the day."

Ground attack: Before the Arizona State game, the Trojans were averaging 176.5 yards per game rushing. Against the Sun Devils, the Trojans rushed for 247 net yards.

Great freshman performance: On his 122 yards rushing and three touchdowns, Trojans tailback Justin Davis said, "I thought I had a great game. I am seeing stuff a whole lot better. We definitely need this bye week a lot. We have a lot of banged up players."

Valley of the Sun: Temperature at kickoff was 84 degrees.

The defensive scoring average: The Trojans defense allowed 62 points to Arizona State. Before the Sun Devils game, the Trojans were allowing 11.0 points per game.

Defensively speaking: Safety Dion Bailey said, "ASU was able to exploit our mistakes. This is the second time I've been here and had a third quarter like that. It was the perfect storm for them."

Getting defensive: Coming into the Arizona State game, the Trojans were allowing an average of 230.5 total yards on defense. Against the Sun Devils, the Men of Troy allowed 612 total yards.

The meat wagon: All-America wide receiver Marqise Lee injured his left knee, and safety Su'a Cravens left with an apparent rib injury.

Pass defense: Coming into the game, the Trojans were allowing 171.2 passing yards per game. Against the Sun Devils, the Trojans allowed 351 passing yards.

Too many holes: Freshman safety Su'a Cravens said, "ASU really spotted the holes in our defense. We got punched in the mouth, and it was hard to recover."

Tackling the issue: The Trojans defense was led by corner Kevon Seymour and linebacker Hayes Pullard with eight tackles each.

Keeping the faith: Offensive tackle Kevin Graf said, "Our defense is still great. There were things we could have done better. We'll take this bye week and work on the things we need to get better. We need to pick it up."

Passing fancy: Before the Arizona State game, the Trojans were averaging 163.5 passing yards per game. Against the Sun Devils, the Trojans passed for 295 yards.

Trojans still respected: ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly said, "USC is a big competitor there (in the Pac-12 South). They're always a great team, and they have a bunch of great athletes, so it's a big game, and a lot of our guys are from there, so it was a high emotion game."

The evening turnstile: Sun Devils Stadium attendance for Saturday night's game was announced as 64,987. The stadium reportedly holds 71,706.

Getting better: Coming into the game, the Trojans were averaging 63 penalty yards per game. Against the Sun Devils, the Trojans were penalized six times for 54 yards.

Getting down: The Trojans were 5 of 11 in third down conversions.

Scouting the talent: NFL scouts in attendance included representatives from the Falcons, Giants, Dolphins, Saints, Jaguars, Raiders, Rams, Ravens, Titans and Browns.

Next Game: The Trojans return to action on Thursday night, Oct. 10, when they play host to the Arizona Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. PT in the Coliseum.