Discuss The USC-Rice Game

It’s pretty remarkable how USC pretty much perfectly resembled the team we discussed all spring and summer.

I said Caleb Williams was the nation’s No. 2 QB last year and he lived up to it today. He was pretty flawless and his physical strength when running is impressive. With Williams, USC’s offense can go as far as he takes it.

Now, for the defense. The secondary was as bad as I thought it would be and wrote about during the week. I don’t care about those gift tipped interceptions. If USC played a good team today, it would have been ugly. Don’t forget Rice had their backup QB for a large part of the game.

The defensive line was actually a little worse than expected. They weren’t physical and lacked toughness. It didn’t do a good job vs. the run.

I shudder to think if USC played a good team today.

But the offense will keep it in games. Let’s see USC play an elite team. That might not happen.

68 thoughts on “Discuss The USC-Rice Game

  1. It was refreshing to have a team that didn’t play down to their opponent! I was remembering when CH was running things we would almost lose games like this with mistakes and over-confidence. Seems like the other team would always make a big comeback and make it too close! Way to go Riley!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s tough for any offense to be perfect….and that’s what ours might have to be when we play against a first rate team…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. As anticipated, USC is now OU West…after the past 12 years, a quantum leap (but with foreknowledge of disappointing season endings – closet parallel, as discussed, Larry Smith 1988-89…although team will be most reminiscent, other than OU/Big12, of the 2005 USC team…sort of…). But just like Smith after Tollner, Lincoln after Captain Benteen is a deal (and maybe he’ll surprise the likes of me and the blogger and shut us up…at least me…can’t imagine the Woofster not finding something to snark about). Speaking of McGomer, saw he had a big win in his GaSo. opener (albeit against Morgan St.) – next week at Lincoln to face a desperate to save his job Scott Frost…to think, Gomer might do unto others as was done unto him last year! But one suspects that Humpty will dumpty back down to what we learned all too well is his Peter Principle level…now, back to OUSC and to see what we see…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Since upheaval has become the norm, perhaps the future will involve joint programs (they can run it like split-squads in baseball spring training)…if they do UCLA needs to be merged with Kansas?


  2. What I saw was Tuli doubled every play everywhere he lined up. Benton got a lot of penetration on the DL. Another thing I noticed was Rice has a pretty darn good offensive line which most writers seemed to overlook. Rice had a great game plan offensively, and did all they could defensively. Our DB’s need to play tighter and Linebackers need not drop quite so deep. Height is better than Foreman but Foreman had some great moments also. SC lost containment a few times and allowed long runs. Loved USC using crossing patterns on the pass routes again. The post route always seemed open and Williams would always nail it. Running backs all got A’s. Loved to see Rileys passion even in the waning minutes. DL needs to be more immovable with their heads up. Not a bad 1st game for sure. I think Wolf will eat his words as the season progresses and Rice gets to be recognized as a good football team.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The containment issues had to do with players not being in the right gaps. That’s why I mentioned “gap integrity” in an earlier post. It was a coachable fix, addressed at the half.

      Your perspective was right on

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There is no excuse, Gabby….


  3. It will take awhile on the dline … 10 years of neglect will do that
    O is awesome with a real play caller finally after a decade of bubbles and fades and penalties

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I do agree with a lot of what the Wolfman says. I don’t think that the run defense was as bad as he says. Rice is a physical(run right at you) team. Considering that SC never hardly blitzed at all and handled the rush the whole game with a 4 man rush, I would say that they did fairly well.
    I like the fact that SC made adjustments at halftime on defense and they played much better in the second half. Most of the DC’s that we have had recently, never made adjustments. They just gave a rah-rah speech in the locker room at halftime and hoped they would come out and play better but no adjustments.
    We’ll have to wait and see but this defense still looks to me like a finese defense. The teams that run right at you and control the ball will hurt this defense. I’m talking about Utah. I want to say Stanford, but Stanford doesn’t run the ball like they used to or, at least, they haven’t in recent years and they didn’t look like anything has changed against Colgate.
    But teams that nickel and dime you to death with short runs and passes and control the clock will give this team trouble. It will even give the offense trouble because if their offense has the ball, that means that your offense doesn’t have it. Your offense can’t do much damage when they are sitting on the sidelines. It bothers me that Rice won the time of possession 32 to 27. But other than that, they looked outstanding and I’m betting that you will see a lot of their offense against Stanford that they didn’t show against Rice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When you’re constantly picking up big chunk plays, the time of possession is not a true indicator of who’s controlling the offensive side of the game or the scoreboard

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Good point. Oregon under Chip Kelly never won TOP but when they lost it was usually because their offense didn’t get their hands on the ball long enough.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clay Helton had a good first game. Georgia Southern beat Morgan State 59-7, although I’m not sure how good Morgan State is.


      3. Yes, as I said. It does mean that your defense is on the field forever though.
        Tired players get hurt. We saw the same with Lane, Sark, and Helton calling stupid plays and going 3 and out meaning the defense is on the field most of the time. It takes way more energy to play defense than offense.


      4. Ok!…. We should tell LR to slow down his dynamic offense and run the ball more and absolutely at no cost run out of bounds.

        Since when was limiting your offensive possessions a key to winning?
        LR was 55-10 on the strength of his offense scoring quick, not controlling the clock. Shaw isn’t 55-10 controlling the clock

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I still don’t understand why Oregon was rated above SC in the polls(not that it matters). LR is a proven winner. Landon had never coached a game as a HC. Plus SC was rated higher in the ratings for best portal team recruiting rankings and also for regular 2023 recruiting rankings. So why put Oregon ahead of us?


  5. Su’a Cravens said, in his opinion, outside of Williams the O-line looked to be the strength of the team. They looked good, off the top of my head, only one penalty.

    Speaking of penalties, what a major difference in discipline and focus. Coaching matters!

    I noticed poor gap integrity from the front seven right out of the gate, but competent coaching made the needed adjustments at halftime. I heard Rice only had 70 yards of total offense…..but, let’s also look at the opponent!

    Stanford gave us an ass whipping at home last season and returns all five o-line starters. Their defense is questionable. early prediction 42-20 USC!

    #FIGHT ON!


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Have you not heard the proverb – discretion is the better part of valor?

      What did they gain other some stats and clips for the highlight shows? Idk, maybe I don’t get it, but there’s exactly no point to making a 3pm game in 100° weather last longer than need be. Burning up your defense’s legs so you can take the offense off some cool jumps is pretty short sided. Rice is terrible and they played 7/8th of the game with their backup QB.

      We’ll see how the week goes and who doesn’t practice until Thursday b/c they spent way more time on the field today than need be.

      I guess it’s hard to see the bigger picture in a hot take environment.


      1. Perhaps viewing a USC football game is more torture than you can handle….just saying!

        The amount of snaps in a game is a product of numerous situations taking place on the field….yet you offer no solution to limit the snaps….details!


  6. Same ol Shott (out) Wolf. Talking himself up by patting himself on the back for mentioning how he said Caleb Williams was good before he came to USC. I think many others in sports media watching him last season made the same assessment so I can’t say “Good call” on that one Wolf.

    Laugh out loud! He says…..”if they played a good team it would have been ugly”
    Well ok, maybe. But they didn’t and it wasn’t. How about actually saying something specific like Paul Finebaum or Plaschke might, or TJ Simers and your pal Petros would? At least they would pick apart the negative after making that kind of summary or opinion.
    And now that Oregon got put in a casket and Utah gets upset in Florida making the Pac12 look like the pretender already in week 1 it just gave Shott Wolf his new go-to excuse this season if USC has any success.

    He’ll say that USC hasn’t played any teams worth talking about. He’ll say Utah proved they are a good team if they beat USC, but if they lose to USC he’s gonna say they overrated at the beginning of the year by every media person and everyone else and USC did nothing.

    Today was a good day for USC to have a positive outcome right out the gate. Nobody has said they played perfect and nobody has said “they’re on their way now”. But after the last few years it was overall a breath of fresh air and something different than holding off a team we should dominate or getting outscored in the 2nd half and barely hold on.

    We definitely have many things to work on. Who doesn’t?
    But it was still a win and with everything considered having a new Coach with many new players on a roster full of new recruits, transfers today’s outcome was actually the result our team needed and I’m ready to see them work on getting better!
    Hey how about getting to see Solomon Tuliaupupu out there finally in a game and take down the Rice QB! That was cool to see. Hope he has a good and healthy year.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. SamBam: “He’ll say that USC hasn’t played any teams worth talking about. He’ll say Utah proved they are a good team if they beat USC, but if they lose to USC he’s gonna say they overrated at the beginning of the year by every media person and everyone else and USC did nothing”

      You fucking nailed it!….. This has been his lame-ass, pathetic M.O. year after year. Regarding the defense, Wolf read five pages of the book and declared it terrible. The glass is ALWAYS half-empty with him.

      Great post!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. I mean USC could win a National Title tomorrow and the blogger would find a way to say more negative than positive. He’s gonna say anything to discredit whatever momentum USC has or will have. Why did he not enroll at some other school if he was gonna become such a dark force annually towards any USC?;Has the guy ever just had one moment where he gives USC even the smallest compliment? Tough to point one out that I can remember such an instance.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Rice ran for 13 yards in the second half, after 133 in the first half. Good adjustments. And the interceptions weren’t “gifts”, in Scottie’s lingo, IMHO. 3 of the 4 tipped were because those guys took their eyes off the ball, because they heard footsteps.

    One issue that struck me is just how much more team speed there is this year than in past years on both sides. Shane Lee looks like he might be close to 250, and the fella can move.

    Stanford gave up 160 yards on the ground to Colgate. I like USC’s chances there.

    If you put last year’s coaching staff in the driver’s seat today, but with the same players as today, I’d guess the outcome would be something like 37-27, not 66-14.

    It was a long time coming, but we finally have a really good coach.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Regarding Lee, he looks thick! The boy has some “guns” on him. We need him to stay healthy and be a leader to the PAC12 title. The ND game might be the difference in a potential playoff spot

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Post of the day SAS – thank you

    As someone who suffered last year in the Coliseum last year under both Helton/Donte and in 1999 under Can’t Hackett, this new regime is a breath of fresh air. I feel the same as when Pete took over. It took Pete a couple of years. He did not have the portal. Lincoln has the portal with immediate eligibility. Barring an NCAA death penalty which is unlikely, now that they have been de-fanged, USC will be a contender not a pretender unlike Utah and Oregon.

    Beat the Farm.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Utah’s QB threw the INT but he also looked as if he had no intentions of finding an open receiver because his sights were all on the TE who fell but it didn’t matter because it was a terrible decision to throw ball with the coverage all around him. Utah and the Pac12 needed a victory over the SEC. The talk will continue that the Pac12 can’t play with a good team now after Utah and Oregon falling in week 1.
      At the same time it gives USC the opportunity to take over the top and be the team that beats those teams again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If stop missing out on these 5Star OT’s we’ll slap them around. I really hope SC’s “road back” moves somewhat fast and we meet Alabama in the CFB playoffs title game soon before Nick Saban retires. Beating him would put the Helton game in 2016 behind us for good but the entire college football world would have to get on the ground and kneel to USC for every negative stories in the media or every analyst that said we were done because we wouldn’t recover from the sanctions/30Less Scholarships, the times during the BCS we were clearly the best team in college football yet we weren’t even in the championship game. Defeating Alabama would ultimately mean that we are the more physical or “tougher” program that we haven’t even showed glimpses of since 2011. Saban would have to tip his cap but all of CFB would have to stop what they were doing to get in line to kiss the ring.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. ……along with the Big12 and Big10

        Vince might have been superman that night. IMO, USC was the better team


  9. I don’t care what anyone says this team is back!, USC is back! I will be shocked when the new AP Poll comes out and USC is not No 1, Next stop the CFB National Championship game!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We have been spoiled with 30+ years (more or less) of excellent QB play at USC. But today was different. We have not had a QB like this since, well, Rodney. #13 ran the ball a few times today JUST TO REMIND THE STANFORD DC that they will have to defend against this mobile QB. Brilliant!

    I don’t recall any WR/TE drops today. Most of the time they were wide open, anyway. I think 10+ players had receptions. The run game and O line was good. I see the run game likely more important versus Stanford next week and I see Dye proving his worth vs the Furd.
    Raleek has a burst that will be fun to watch for the next 3 years.
    Thanks Mater Dei.

    Impossible to judge the Defense today, though initial impressions are correct. Grinch and the D will be a “work in progress.” Thankfully, we don’t play a decent Offense for 5 or so weeks.

    In closing, I took the advice of my friends Guarino and Trojan1967 and moved up to a nice shot of Woodford’s in lieu of the JD. Riles beats Stanford on the Farm next week, but the Trees will put up some points on this D.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The offense is really fun to watch. The 0-line is OK, not dominant, we will have to see how they play against other teams.

    The defense has problems and will be a work in progress, but it is good to see them making adjustments at halftime. The Pac-12 has some decent QBs this year, so if the secondary is porous, it is going to be a shoot-out every weak.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I do not believe Stanford was scared off by SC’s performance today, and will be loaded-and-ready to put-up a lot of points on the board against this suspect Trojan defense. The Indians, sorry, Cardinal, usually have high-quality quarterbacks who are adept at shredding questionable secondaries.

    So ‘Celeb’ may have to carry this team, as will be the case all season, and try to confiscate for his porous defense surrendering up to 30 to 40 points every game


    1. I looked at the returning offensive players from last years horrible Stanford team. Not impressed.

      Still, they will put up some yards on this D. They will be successful with the run and successful passing to their tall, slow, TE. This then opens up the passing lanes for their untalented WR’s.

      The question for next week will be, “how does the USC offense do against Stanford.”


  13. Stanford is trash. The same stuff they used on Colgate will be the same stuff they use on USC. Why? They lack depth and skill so the top 22 aren’t being challenged by the rest of the roster. What Riley and staff use against Stanford will be different than against Rice. How? Stanford lacks personnel to play man against USC offense and Caleb is a play action nightmare. Defensively, qb telegraphs his throws for Stanford. Can’t wait to hear Wolf finds some lame reason to complain. Again.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. USC did what they had to win the game. After they made halftime adjustments. They played lights out. Bullock, Lee, played great love Bullock IQ will be an All American before he done. DL needs to get more push up the middle to get TFL Foreman needs to use his hands when rushing passer, he will get more sacks. I know they had 5 sacks how many from DE. 1 or 2? Overall was a B -, something to build on


    1. Hey Charles!
      Thanks for posting this article.
      Apple wouldn’t let me read this article without a subscription.
      “F” apple and their subscription.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fuck everybody who charges for a single online article — give us 2 or 3 free ones per month –let your advertisers make up the difference….


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