Morning Buzz: USC-Utah Report Card


There were the usual something-out-of-nothing plays from Caleb Williams and if you take away sacks, he actually gained 97 yards rushings. The big problem was how many times he was running for his life from the pass rush.

Grade: B+


It’s fair to say there weren’t enough opportunities because the Trojans weren’t exactly balanced (42 passes, 27 runs). Travis Dye is indispensable as a pass blocker and runner. No one else is right now.

Grade: B-


The distribution was pretty good (nine different players caught passes) and it was nice to see Josh Falo come out of nowhere to catch two TD passes. Less impressive were the two false starts and a holding penalty from Mario Williams. I do wish Lincoln Riley would air it out a little more too.

Grade: B


I actually thought there were some plays where the line did a nice job picking up a ferocious pass rush. Other times, of course, were much less successful as Caleb Williams was sacked three times and often forced to make throws under duress. The two false starts were expected given the noise at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Grade: C+


For all the praise this unit gets, Tuli Tuipulotu, Stanley Tu’ufo’ou and Solomon Byrd each had only one tackle and Cameron Rising was never sacked. Rising also went right through the line on the two-point play. Tyrone Taleni (five tackles) and Nick Figueroa (four tackles) stepped up.

Grade: D+


Eric Gentry had nine tackles, a forced fumble and tried to play on a bad ankle. There were also some lowlights trying to cover tight end Dalton Kincaid and tackle Cameron Rising.

Grade: D


Some things we complained about all season were apparent with two penalties on Mekhi Blackmon and one on Anthony Beavers. And this group was also responsible for the debacle of covering Dalton Kincaid. Blackmon is getting away with stuff he did against Oregon State.

Grade: D-


Aadyn Sleep-Dalton hasn’t really had a bad punt yet and averaged 50.5 yards vs. Utah. The kickoff return game finally showed signs of life too. Brenden Rice’s holding penalty on Raleek Brown’s kick return was devastating.

Grade: B-


Lincoln Riley got exposed a bit under the glare of Rice-Eccles Stadium. He didn’t call timeout at the end and seemed a bit too confident there would be an OT. The 12-men-on-the field penalties keep happening too. I don’t know why USC never adjusted to Kincaid. Rising was 16 for 16 targeting the tight end. Before the game I wondered if Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley would vary his coverages and he did. USC seemed to rigidly stick to its soft coverage. It seemed at times like the poor defenses of the past 5-6 years returned at the worst possible moment.

Grade: F

45 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: USC-Utah Report Card

  1. If I had to pick player of he game for each team I would go with Caleb Williams for SC. That guys upside is off the charts. For Utah, the POG is not so easy. There was Cam Rising who threw for 415 yards and 2 TD’s. But there was also Dalton Kincaid who caught 15 passes for 217 yards. Personally, I would go in a different direction. I would choose that official who made that roughing the passer call that took away our interception to stop a Utah drive and gave Utah a TD on the next play. Even Huard, the announcer thought that was a crazy call.The roughing the passer call was really bad. It gave the Utes an extra TD. I think that the authorities should investigate that official who made the call and look for 2 things:1) Does he have gambling debts2) Is he a mormonGambling debts would give him a motive for deliberately making a bad call and trying to move the game in one direction and being a devout mormon would show that he had bias’s. You might say “isn’t that wild accusations beyond the realm of the probable”. I don’t think so….it happens all the time. There have been refs who have been sent to jail for rigging a game. And if you are a devout mormon or catholic and a huge BYU, Utah or ND fan, I can see where your bias’s might influence you. We’re all human.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hi john, y kaleb william cry like little bitch after game n y he wear pink fingerrrnails like sissy women? missus use pink polish on her nails when she choke mi chicken 4 me


      1. Good morning Ed, great question. I’m not sure why Caleb wears pink fingernails, maybe he’s just an undercover Bitch, nevertheless , I think he played a fantastic game. The Trojans defense sucked as usual, but all of Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma teams had crappy defenses too, so I’m not surprised.


      2. Actually, those colored fingernails may help him to win a Heisman. Today, political correctness has invaded everything, even sports. If you are seen to be part of the LGBTQ+ community or even just to favor it, you will receive favoritism.


    2. “The built in bias” is there for everyone to see without any further investigation: USC is leaving the conference that hires the refs.
      I read on an obscure blog that Brock Huard is being disciplined by Fox for pointing out there was something fishy about the officiating. I guess that’s the way media works now: pretend the corruption isn’t happening.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right MG, even my marginally interested wife caught Brock’s act,
        which was a tad over-the-top commentary, twice lecturing that the quarterback had not been illegally ‘roughed-up’

        Odd that an old college quarterback would not side with today’s quarterbacks, because do we have to remind you Brock, it is a dangerous position because when preparing to throw you have 250-pound monster-men trying to smash you to the ground. Most quarterbacks are not runners thus resulting in them attaining
        ‘Sitting Duck” status similar to SC’s recent quarterbacks. Talk about defenseless–

        These college kids are kids but they are all-man when it comes to physicality and coupled with year-round coaching they’re better at football than their predecessors, and stronger, and faster. These trained defensive linemen are coach-molded to attack the quarterback in passing downs, and the harder the hit the more likely I put him out of the game and we probably win and my name is in all the papers

        Faced with this legalized mayhem-mentality the quarterback needs protection. As a quarterback I take the snap and immediately scan the field for potential targets, I’ve got to get rid of this ball at about
        2-seconds maybe longer if lucky, and all the while I am aware of the pressing presence of madmen wanting a piece of me, but I do not look at them I’m too busy looking down field, but I feel their stampede


      2. SC needs more 4 and 5 stars on that defensive line. They had no sacks or TFL’s against Utah. One of the main reasons that they lost(besides poor officiating and bad tackling) was that Cam Risen had too much time back there.


      3. All I want for Christmas: The ref who made the call getting interviewed on any sports show — while watching game on a monitor— being asked to explain how the the force applied to Rising amounted to roughing the passer under the relevant rules…..


      4. Speaking of Fox. They still have a lot of really good political commentators but little by little, I’m losing faith in Fox. The upper management is to the left. In 10 years they will be another CNN and Carlson and Hannady and all the rest of the good political analysts will be gone.


    3. ‘Ol Mule Shoe gets an “F-” every week he has those three idiots Grinch, Nua and Donte Williams on staff.

      As long as those Three Stooges are coaching the defense USC has no shot at competing with the big boys.


  2. Both roughing the passer calls were bad calls. We are one step away from rules that say you can’t touch the QB at all. I say the same thing to the QB that I say to any football player…..If you don’t don’t want to get hit, don’t play football…..try your hand at monopoly

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those roughing calls were not illustrative of the new rules on protecting QB’s —they wouldn’t be called in any conference except the Pac 12….in a game in which USC was playing…


      1. btw, in my favorite sport —boxing — a referee will get drilled by announcers for prematurely stopping a fight when the fighter he’s ruling “out” is actually “winning.” They will show him the tape and ask what he thought he was seeing that necessitated stoppage. The ref that called the roughing should get similarly drilled —he should be asked to review the tape and explain how that tap on Rising’s shoulder amounted to roughing. I guarantee it would be obvious he was being influenced by something other than the new roughing rules….


      2. I still say that they are trying to turn tackle football into flag football. I will admit that they do things differently on the left coast and most of Pac-12 football is on or near the left coast.


      3. I don’t know about everyone else, but I thought Caleb Williams pink fingernails looked cute , especially when he was crying like a little bitch after the game.


    2. As I have said before, it isnt just bad referee calls, it is a deliberate attempt to sabotage USC. If USC wins the Pac-12, it will help them to get ALL the best players west of the Mississippi for the next 2 years, and that will be another deathblow for Oregon, Utah, etc.

      The refs will continue to make bad calls on the most critical plays of the game. The Pac-12 makes itself look real bad by allowing this type of ref performance. Feels like the conference is going to circle the drain.

      Will USC want to schedule games against the Pac-12 teams? NO. If I am Bohn, I would be plotting to steal Washington and Stanford to the Big10 and leave Utah and Oregon behind to rot in the Pac-Nothing. Teach George K a lesson.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. WE don’t need to steal anybody —we just need out of this shit conference… the fate of the pac 12 is already decided… it will die a slow death without us…


      2. I agree gamer.
        UW and Stanford are both academically high ranking Universities which have also performed well in athletics–Stanford more so than UW. If the B1G (Big 10) and SEC are to expand to 20 or so teams, UW and Stanford to the B1G might make sense.

        Honestly, I prefer the 16 team “super conference”. If the B1G and the SEC become the centers for CFB power, with 32 teams at the pinnacle it will be much like the NFC/AFC and NFL. Might be where CFB ends up.

        Oregon has enjoyed some minor sporting success but is a middling academic school (#350/780 or so). Utah at 133/780 was a pleasant surprise. CU, the Arizonas, the Oregons, Wazzu, etc.–ever really got the academics going, despite incredible growth in their population and their “wealth” as Growth States.

        Finally, what to do with Cal? Great academics.


  3. QB/ A+ Caleb was great showed a lot of toughness grit and leadership. Caleb can you put touch on some of your passes please. Rb /C- Dye was solid as usual but the whole group was porus with pass blocking Releek never saw a blitzing backer, Dye got ran over by DL. Releekbis still making FR mistakes in all facets, Can we see what Barlow can do? WR B-/ Addison & William’s are the Alpha dogs. Rice needs to be replaced by Jackson Ware Hudson or CJ, J Ford will enter transfer portal IMHO. Washington will take Mario position if Addison misses time. Need more deep passes completed. OL C-/Gave Caleb a little more time, but still had Qb running for his life. Must clean up fundamentals do more film study to see what stunts DLM are doing on certain down. Can do a lot better with false starts n delay of game. DL D/ no sacks 5 pressures in which I saw if they had more my bad. Tuli didn’t have an impact . LB C-/ Gentry leadership was on display when hopping from on one leg to fire up team put 25 lbs on him n he will 1st AllAmcn. Lee is atrocious on pass coverage sit him out on 2nd 3rd downs let faster LB cover TE’s Kincaid had a field day . Goforth had a nice game. Can we see Davis now his speed is evident? Something is going on too talented not to see the field or coaches feel he is not ready where is Simon Madden was touted for his speed we need more speed on the perimeter. S/C D- Callen is a straight out baller 1st round pick no doubt can he play corner ?Instinctively great and has the best IQ of the unit. Blackmon and William’s couldn’t gaurd TE in slot, backups aren’t making the grade Beavers, Shaw, Gordon need to step it up, or they will get replaced by other players.
    D – for special teams, blocking penalty stopped USC from starting a game winning short drive FG. Punter is doing a great job, kicker is solid but unit has to get better. Coaching D/Must use player’s on defense who are making impact plays regardless of class, put your best players on the field if you want the team to reach it’s full potential LR. Didn’t make coverage adjustments on TE no press coverage DC do you understand if you do this along with blitzes then Qb has to go to 2nd 3rd options giving DB’s a chance to not get PI or soft coverage completions C Wright. Go back and see what time management is LR never under estimate your opposibg coach position on going for 2 or 1.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Smart observations, Eric.
      Yes, Gentry IS a leader. We will miss him in more ways than one if he’s out. Yes, Raleek lacks the skillset to be in the game for any reason other than to carry the ball. Yes, Washington can take up 85% of the slack if Addison is out —but we’ll be missing the speed.
      And a BIG yes to your conclusion on Lincoln: He FORGOT that the opposing team can throw the dice and go for 2. You have to plan for WORST case scenario —and the worst case scenario was not a tie game. The worst case scenario was 43-42 and you need to save time for getting 3 more.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MG LR risk management is a skill a lot of people don’t have. Coaches who adjust in game mostly have a plan that goes with the risk management plan, by being a risk manager I’m always using that aspect to everything in my life. We will be all right if last Saturday was a indication of what is a true upset. Since Alabama has 1 loss everything it shows there is more parity this year. I predict there will be 4 one loss SEC teams Alabama GA Ole Miss Tennessee which will put us in the Rose Bowl against Michigan.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Wolfe you are an asshole for the purpose of being an asshole. One of man’s worst characteristics is being tedious…bingo, Wolfe you shot, you score.

    Thank God, the comments are interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Got to get up mighty early around here to beat the imitators to the punch, but I got beat-down again, so be it.

    An ‘F’ for Riley, huh Wolf, what would his grade be if SC had stopped Rising’s
    2-pointer, A-?

    You lose credibility when you Always take extreme positions

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Riley deserves an “F” just on his brain dead clock management at the end of the game. If USC uses all of their timeouts on defense when Utah had first and goal, they would have had a whopping 1:50 to march down the field and kick a field goal. With first downs stopping the clock, it would have allowed the Trojans to throw shorter passes and even use their running game as a weapon to get into field goal range. This was a colossal mistake by Riley and his coaching staff. And we can’t understate how costly this mistake was at the end of the football game.


      1. …actually an even smarter FB critic would understand that Grinch should have allowed Utah to score the TD–with or without the 2 pt conversion–at about the 2minute30sec spot.

        Fair catch the Kickoff. Save time. Save T/O.
        March about 40 yards in 2.5 minutes and kick the game winning FG.
        NFL guys with great QB’s (Brady, Rogers, the Mannings) would often let the other team score in the 4th qtr and put their QB on the field.

        “What would Andy Reid have done?”


  6. I thought everyone got an A for the Trojans. I couldn’t watch all of the game, because at halftime I started jacking off to Trump photos, and didn’t stop until the game was over . 😂 It was a great Saturday night for me and Rosey Palm.


      1. On another blog I posted the thought that USC finally go independent for their final season before the BIG. They can fill their schedule with PAC teams but hire BIG refs or Sec or CIF, I don’t care.
        Scott is right about using time outs near the end of the game . The neighbors at our timeshare in Tahoe probably think my yelling, “time out, call time out stupid” was my safe word during rough sex. (although just looking at us you’d know better)
        Riley’s grade from Scott in tempered by that one play in which we beat the spread but lost the game. Unfortunately it overlooks the fact that Riley out coached Utah for the entire first half and most of the second half. USC has one running back who blocks and Utah recognized it. The refs were playing fast and loose with the rules and Riley knew better than to call them out for it during the game.
        Does anybody remember Pete calling the refs out during a game? The refs reviewed a play where the opposing team’s player went out of bounds and came back in to catch a touchdown pass. The refs originally ruled correctly and took the points off the board. Then the coach from the other team complained that the ineligible player had been pushed out of bounds. The refs reviewed the review, which according to the rules was not allowed. Pete went ballistic and the refs not only awarded the points but also took away a timeout for the first review. Early the following week the league officials reviewed the play and found that the game officials were wrong. The player in question went out of bounds on the sidelines before entering the end zone ((which was marked by the side judge) and then bumped out of bounds in the end zone where he ran around the goal post to catch the pass. The play should have resulted in an illegal touching penalty and loss of down. However they didn’t take the points off the score. (That referee crew was disbanded and split around other crews)
        So Riley’s grade is B- because that ending did not define the game.
        Finally many of team members had tears in their eyes, not just the quarterback. I quote George C. Scott in Patton: “I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed”

        Liked by 3 people

      1. It is NOT true, LJ….

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Let’s not forget the disarray that the program was in just a year ago. To start 6-1 is pretty good, I think. Even Caesar’s first season started out 2-5, but by the end you could sense that they’d turned a corner.

    That said, I think the gimmick Utah pulled with the player’s image on the helmets was well,,,the Utah version of the Domers and their green jerseys.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Re the images of Utah players who had died on Utah helmets: manipulative and disrespectful in the extreme. Pray for them….don’t USE them.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. An F for coaching is just ridiculous.

    Caleb – A- He truly is superman for most of the game and only occassionally makes a mistake. No interceptions is important.

    Running Backs – B+ They just didnt use them enough, but Dye is just great.

    Wide Receiver – B+ – But Brendon Rice gets a C-. Riley needs to start Hudson Ware instead of Rice. Rice just fails in multiple ways. He drops balls, fails to complete his routes, cant get jump balls, doesnt make the big sideline catches, cant break lose deep. Why waste a position on him? Taj, SuperMario, Ware Hudson and Addison, or if Addison is injured, give more time to CJ and MJIII.

    Offensive Line – B- They did a decent job of blocking. Riley made a mistake by not having a better balance of run and pass.

    Defensive Line C – Part of the reason they didnt get any sacks is that Rising got the ball out quickly and is effective in the pocket.

    Linebackers – C- Gentry is good, but Lee was responsible for many of the biggest plays for Utah.

    Cornerbacks – C+ You need to break out safeties and conerbacks. The corners had a difficult job with their tall receivers, but it is a difficult challenge. More of the coverage problems are the linebackers and the safeties.

    Safeties – D- Max Williams was the other guy responsible for messing up on the biggest plays and Calen Bullock got burned for that long TD pass.

    Coaching – B- Riley’s offensive schemes are brilliant and he showed a bit more of the playbook here. The first quarter got USC off to a fast start and completely took Utah’s crowd out of the game. USC could have been up by 3-4 TDs at halftime if 1) Rice had come back to the ball on the 3rd down play and caught it so that drive didnt stall. 2) they had stopped Utah at end of the 2nd half 3) the refs hadnt called bogus roughing the passer call. The coaching problems are on the defense, where Grinch had no answers for two Utah receivers in second half. Utah’s offense was one-dimensional, and yet they were unstoppable (although they got help from refs multiple times). The main issue on offense is that Rice is adding nothing to the receivers. Bench him. And they need a better balance of run game, pass game and better use of tight ends. On defense, Shane Lee and Max Williams failed on many of the biggest Utah plays. Are there younger players who can step up? We need some solutions before UCLA on defense.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The “problem” for our defense [i.e., Rising getting the ball out quickly] woulda been the right gameplan for our offense. Trying out the triple option and allowing [what coaches don’t discourage, they encourage] Caleb to continually scurry around in the backfield for 4 or 5 seconds before releasing the ball is what led to our suffering losses on critical plays.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Pretty much agree, gamer.
      Hard to bitch at an offense that put up 550 yards (with a low Time of Possession) against a historically tough, physical team in a hostile environment. Raleek did totally miss a key pass rush block. Head on a swivel???? Caleb is a fine, young leader. Really happy to have him at my school. The WR’s will have 3 good games coming up, and I expect them to shred Zona, CU, and maybe Cal.

      I thought the D played well at times and forced 2nd and 3rd and long and often got “stops” only to have a (marginal) penalty extend the play.

      I think a B- for the front 4. I don’t recall much blitz help coming. They stuffed the run in the first half, which was the game plan. Most of the running yards in the second half were not consequential, other than clock killing.

      I think a C+ for the LBers. Shane Lee cannot cover.

      I think the DB’s did “OK” with the WR’s. Lousy communication lead to the bomb to Money Parks. Bullock’s INT was game changing, until the Zebra changed it back. Kincaid had a single 30 yr reception. His underneath catches extended drives, which was the dagger.

      I’ve watched enough Kyle coaching to know how he plays the game.
      Tough nosed D with plenty of blitzing. He’s a gambler.
      Strong kicking game and good kick coverage. He has had some boomer punters and kickers over the years and they have bailed him out.
      Establish his bell-cow run game which then sets up the dinks to the TE which then sets up the longer downfield passing to his less-talented WR.

      We beat Kyle out of 4 of his 5 goals, and he feels super lucky to have earned a tough W at home. Let’s see how he does at Autzen stadium.

      I’m unsure if I’m hating on Grinch for negating their run game (long gain a 21 yd QB scramble) and neutralizing their relatively untalented WR staff (a single 45 yard bomb and a 20 yd to Vele).
      (BTW) Utah’s S/T are actually terrible.

      The D allowed dink and dunk 5-10 yard passes to Kincaid, but got stops somewhere between the 40’s–not in scoring position–only to have some marginal penalties extend drives (or in the near red-zone, red-zone with the RTP penalties).

      I’m gonna enjoy the next 3 games and have a lesser Kentucky Bourbon shot after each. If all goes well in the next month, we could win a shoot-out in the Rose Bowl and it’s Blantons4me.

      Fight on, my friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Has anyone noticed we are bowl eligible for the first time in forever? *
    We aren’t competing for bowl eligibility we’re competing for bowl placement. That alone should be reason to celebrate.
    * we were eligible during the shortened pandemic season but “elected” to not go.


    1. Looking at a very favorable schedule, I saw 10-2 as an average season and 11-1 as an outstanding season. Once in Vegas, a win “at home” should be expected by the fanbase!

      (10-2 would mean losses to Utah/UCLA/ND (2/3) but a win versus 1 of the 3.)

      I never saw us in the CFB Playoff, though many here did.
      A trip to Vegas and a a trip to a great Bowl Game would make for a great season.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The refs don’t call defense for USC. It was the worst unit out of all six units in the game. These guys are lacking football instincts and are dumb sometimes. There needs to be hell to pay for the lack of sophistication on defense. UCLA ran different variations of Tampa 2 on Utah and shut down Kincaid in the fourth. It’s really revealing when Gentry goes out and the instinct goes with him.

    Liked by 1 person

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