LOS ANGELES — If you’re a fan of football or sports in general, you know that there’s no greater joy than when a match-up lives up to the hype. Caleb Williams and USC came into the home game against the Washington Huskies and their lefty QB, Michael Penix Jr., as the underdogs. It’s safe to say that the Trojans play the underdog perfectly, as the fight in the offense displayed was masterful.
Despite not having Lloyd for this one, Austin Jones filled in nicely, and Tahj Washington remained the most underrated wide-out in the Nation. Riley called a fearless and bold game. I asked the offense to let loose, and they did tenfold. The 4th-and-1 touchdown strike from Williams to Rice was one of the best plays of the year. Unfortunately, despite putting up a whopping 42 points against the Washington Huskies, the defense failed the Trojans again, surrendering 52 points to the still-undefeated #5 team in the Nation. Let’s get into the breakdown of the game.
Heavy Lies The Crown
Despite having a fantastic game last night, Caleb Williams came under fire by many for his post-game actions. From jumping into the stands to share a very emotional moment with his family to his demeanor in the post-game presser, many nationwide criticized the reigning Heisman winner. On the point of Williams “sobbing” in the stands with his family, I understand that people want to see a star QB at this stage in his (young) career show some composure in a loss, but I can’t fault Williams. It’s blatant that this young man loves this game and team. Williams is a competitor at the highest level and wants to win more than most. I can imagine a lot of emotion boiling over as he endures being let down every week by the opposite side of the ball. If you were Williams, and you were consistently balling out, only for your defense (a phase where you can only sit and watch) to get torn apart week in and week out, wouldn’t you be frustrated? Watching what will be your final season, yes, he’s going pro; get squandered because the defense can’t stop a nosebleed; wouldn’t you be at the brink of your composure? I don’t have as much of a problem with Williams showing emotion in the stands as I do with the way he carried himself in the post-game press conference. Leaning against the wall, sitting on the floor, and giving disinterested answers is not a great way to carry yourself. In fairness, the players shouldn’t have spoken to the media after a tough loss. I would’ve liked to see the team captain set a better example for his team and teammates behind the mic. At the end of the day, and as stated earlier, Williams was pretty special last night. Outside of the fumble and sack late in the 4th, Caleb pitched a pretty perfect game. Hopefully, he keeps the momentum going in his match-up against the Ducks in Eugene, as the Trojans are STILL in the hunt for the PAC-12 title game.
How Much Longer Can This Go On?
I don’t know how Grinch can still have a job this morning. I get that maybe they don’t want to make a midseason change, but the defense has been inexplicably bad. Coming into the game, the Huskies had one game where a rusher ran for 100 yards. Yesterday, Dillon Johnson ran for 256 yards. Absolutely a piss-poor effort by the Trojan defense. Where were the adjustments by Grinch? How does a team with such a mediocre, quite frankly weak, run game explode on your defense like that? It’s just unfathomable. The irony is, Michael Penix Jr. wasn’t THAT good. The now clear-cut Heisman favorite had a couple of nice throws but, truthfully, didn’t look like the Nation’s best player. No matter; 35 points given up at home in the first half is mind-boggling. The inability to get a stop when needed, the Huskies went seven for ten on 3rd-down and completed their only fourth attempt, is a fireable offense. Grinch is a perfectly nice guy, but he’s not fit to be the Defensive-Coordinator for a Division-I program. No adjustments. Zero execution of play-calling. A change must come.
At the end of the day, the Trojans’ playoff hopes are completely dashed, but they still find themselves in the mix to compete for the final PAC-12 title. If they can outscore the Ducks next weekend (there’s no way we can consciously pose the notion that they stop Bo Nix’s offense), then their match-up at home against UCLA will determine whether or not Caleb, Riley, and Co. get to have a postseason game in Vegas.