USC coach Lane Kiffin didn’t expect what he got in Tempe Saturday night.
“I don’t think anybody would think that there would be 100 points with these two defenses and close to 1,000 yards,” Kiffin said.
Kiffin also probably didn’t expect his team to commit four turnovers that resulted in 20 Sun Devil points in the Trojans 62-41 loss Saturday night.
Trojans‘ redshirt sophomore quarterback Cody Kessler was 20-29 with 295 yards and two touchdowns but he also tossed two interceptions.
Redshirt sophomore running back Tre Madden, who rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown along with catching two touchdowns, also committed a pair of turnovers: a fumble in the second quarter and an interception in the third quarter.
“Offensively we gave them the ball four times,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “You’re not going to win games with a minus three turnover margin on the road.”
While the Trojans’ turnovers hurt on the offensive end, their defense didn’t do them any favors, either.
“Unfortunately we didn’t play very good defense today,” Kiffin said. “Gave up a bunch of explosive plays, a bunch of back-shoulder throws and only created one turnover.”
The Trojans’ defense (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) entered the game allowing only 230 yards per game and ranked in the top-10 in most major statistical categories. Against ASU (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12), USC gave up 612 yards.
Kiffin said he expected better results as his team’s defensive scheme was similar to No. 5 Stanford, who ASU struggled with a week prior. Kiffin gave the credit to ASU’s receivers and said they simply made more plays than the Trojans.
“I thought we’d play really well on defense, match up really well against them,” Kiffin said. “(ASU) really threw the ball downfield on us and made a ton of plays, credit to them. Those receivers made a bunch of catches on back-shoulder throws and wheel routes and we didn’t make the plays.”
The defense played well, for the most part, in the first half and the Trojans were only down 20-14 at halftime.
However, the second half would be a very different story, as ASU would outscore USC 42-28 in the final 30 minutes with 28 of the Sun Devils’ points being scored in the third quarter.
“A disastrous third quarter for us I think was a big part of the game,” Kiffin said.
As bad as the third quarter was for the Trojans, their rushing attack managed to keep them in the game, for a while.
On top of Madden’s 100-yard performance, freshman running back Justin Davis had a career game, carrying the ball 10 times for 122 yards and three touchdowns.
The Trojans may have to rely even more heavily on their rushing attack as they suffered a potentially massive blow to their receiving corps.
While returning a punt early in the fourth quarter, junior wide receiver Marqise Lee hurt his left knee and had to be helped off the field. After the game, Kiffin did not elaborate on Lee’s condition, only confirming that it was Lee’s knee that was hurt.
After the loss, USC will have a bye week to try to rest and heal up before they move on to face Pac-12 South foe UA.
- Despite his injury, Marqise Lee became USC’s all-time leading receiver in yards with 3,238.
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