Caleb Williams was nearly perfect in the first half and the Heisman campaign is in full bloom. He looked more ordinary in the second half when he was 7-12 for 97 yards.
If you watched Oregon last season, you knew Travis Dye was a worker bee who always gives 110 percent. Austin Jones was less memorable and I can see why Stanford’s happy with E.J. Smith. Raleek Brown was also ordinary but his sprained ankle might have been the reason.
With all the talented wide receivers, the passing game revolves around Jordan Addison. Terrell Bynum has yet to catch a pass in two games. Gary Bryant has one catch per game. Brenden Rice had only one catch but you can see his potential.
They made Kirk Herbstreit happy Saturday night. But the protection for Caleb Williams was worse in the second half that’s saying something with his mobility.
A little better this week as Solomon Byrd emerged at defensive end and Tuli Tuipulotu earned that Mercedes. But USC still looks too ordinary and gave up too many rushing yards (221).
Eric Gentry is already the tallest defensive player and he is also the steadiest through two games (10 tackles vs. Stanford). Shane Lee also is a steady performer. Ralen Goforth did not have a tackle but maybe his time was limited.
Is Donte Williams teaching the corners to be so grabby? Mekhi Blackmon had three pass interference penalties and could have had more. Ceyair Wright also had a pass interference penalty. Max Williams made up for some of it with his two takeaways.
I think it’s fair to say it’s a good thing USC hasn’t had a close game yet. Denis Lynch made two field goals but missed a 39-yard attempt. Punter Aadyn Sleep-Dalton has not been impressive the first two games. In his defense, he hasn’t gotten much work (three punts).
I might give Lincoln Riley an A grade just for that tiny piece of paper he holds while calling plays instead of a Cheesecake Factory menu. Last week I saw USC fans compliment Riley for two things: A four-quarter performance and few penalties. This week? It was a two-quarter performance and USC had a Helton-like nine penalties for 104 yards.
As we all knew, Alex Grinch is going to be juggling balls all season trying to keep that defense from imploding.
In what might be a first, the Trojans left the Stanford locker room spotless after the game. Director of football operations Clarke Stroud tweeted a picture of it and it’s a classy gesture.