Sunday, September 29, 2013
3 up, 3 down: Arizona State 62, USC 41
By Johnny Curren
LOS ANGELES -- A look at the positives and negatives from USC's 62-41 loss to Arizona State on Saturday.
1. Justin Davis: A true freshman who has flashed at times this season as a change-of-pace complement to Tre Madden at tailback, Davis was flat-out stellar on Saturday. Showcasing a rushing style marked by a combination of power, speed and exceptional vision, he ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns, while averaging 12.2 yards per carry. His dazzling 58-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was arguably the highlight of the night for USC.
2. Tre Madden: While Madden ultimately was responsible for two turnovers, he also was the rock that the offense relied upon throughout a majority of the game, and once again, he came through with impressive numbers. Going over the century mark on the ground for the fourth time in five games this season, Madden ran for 128 yards and one touchdown while also making three receptions for 66 yards and two more scores.
3. Offensive fight: The Trojans were certainly far from perfect on offense, but the one thing that Cody Kessler and Co. never did was give up. Fighting until the bitter end, they put up a season-high 41 points and 542 yards of total offense. Kessler, who showed plenty of grit in the face of a frenzied ASU pass rush, completed 20 of 29 pass attempts for 295 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
1. Team defense: Coming into the game ranked No. 4 in the nation in total defense (230.5 yards allowed per game), Clancy Pendergast's unit never even came close to containing the Sun Devils' high-octane offensive attack, giving up 612 total yards. The highly touted Trojans' front seven -- which spearheaded a USC defense that entered the contest averaging four sacks per game -- failed to record a single sack, and ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly completed 23 of 34 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns with one interception, while also leading the Sun Devils with 79 rushing yards. The 62 points scored by Arizona State ties the record set by Oregon in 2012 for points scored on a Trojans team.
2. Offensive turnovers: While the USC offense did rack up its biggest numbers of the season, it also shot itself in the foot with four crucial turnovers, all of which were converted into points by Arizona State. The most damaging of these came in the third quarter, when an Alden Darby pick-six off Kessler, as well as another Darby interception off a Madden pass, helped spring the Sun Devils to a 48-21 lead.
3. Injuries: On a night when USC's lack of depth was all-too apparent right from the get-go, De'Von Flournoy, Su'a Cravens and most notably, Marqise Lee all went to the sideline with injuries. It's the injury suffered by Lee -- who earlier in the game had become the Trojans' all-time leader in receiving yards -- that appeared to be most significant. Going down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter, Lee was carried off the field by teammates and later taken to the locker room on a cart.