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LAst Night's Action: Trojans Get Horned

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Arizona State defeat Sun Devils defeat USC Trojans 43-22. You could sense this lurking in the shadows for the Trojans. They had a hard time closing out Minnesota and Utah in the first two weeks of the season. While they looked dominant last week, it was against an awful Big East team in Syracuse.

The Trojans lost mainly because of their inability to score in the red zone. In seven trips, they had two touchdowns, two field goals, two fumbles and an interception.

But they were helped along with curious play calling. In their first possession of the game, the Trojans had third-and-16 on their own 37-yard line. Uncharacteristically the play went to running back Amir Carlisle who rushed for four yards. Punt.

On their next possession the Trojans had a third-and-13 on ASU’s 30-yard line. The play call: running back Marc Tyler for a one-yard rush. The Trojans settled for a field goal.

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Next possession the Trojans had third-and-14 on their own 16-yard line. The play call: Tyler for a three-yard rush. The Trojans punted.

The normally hot starting Trojans essentially started the game in the 100-degree heat with a mere whimper.

Then there was Trojans’ quarterback Matt Barkley. Trailing 14-6 the Sun Devils punted the ball, and Nickell Robey returned it to ASU’s 12-yard line with 5:26 left in the first half. After Tyler rushed for a yard on first down, Barkley didn’t see ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict behind the line and threw the ball right at him. Burfict ran the ball back 36 yards to near midfield setting up for an ASU touchdown.

Barkley did come back in the second half driving the Trojans for touchdowns on their first two possessions and taking the 22-21 lead. Once ASU quarterback Brook Osweiler responded with a touchdown, it looked like the game would be the normal Pac-12 shootout.

Except Mark Tyler had the ball knocked out of his arms on USC’s next possession. While the Trojan defense prevented a score on the other end, Barkley himself coughed it up in the red zone. Osweiler drove the Sun Devils 82 yards down the field to go up by two scores. And the cherry on top was another Barkley interception returned for a touchdown.

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Barkley proved his interception-prone ways isn’t fully behind him. For the first time since 1999 Arizona State has defeated the Trojans.

What’s confusing on Twitter was seeing Trojan fans reaction to this game. What exactly did they expect from this team? The halcyon days of the mid-aughts are gone. This team is a middling team, and with the scholarship sanctions coming up it will only get worse.

UCLA Bruins defeat Oregon State Beavers 27-19. If I didn’t know any better, I would have asked whether the Bruins’ defense was that good or the Beavers’ offense that bad in the first half. Fortunately I had the privilege of watching the Bruins in person last week so I know better. The Beavers’ offense was awful.

The Beavers trailed 21-3 in the first half until an 85-yard punt return by Jordan Poyer with 13 seconds left in the half. That 21-10 deficit seemed a bit more manageable for the Beavers.

The momentum from the punt return stayed with the Beavers into the third quarter as they got a field goal and scored a touchdown as the quarter expired to pull within two points as the Bruins defense returned to something more familiar: awful.

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And the game looked to go completely the Beavers’ way when in the first possession of the fourth quarter the Bruins went four-and-out at midfield giving the ball right back to Oregon State. After a first down, the Bruin defense actually stood tall and held running back Terron Ward for no gain on fourth-and-one at UCLA’s 34-yard line.

Quarterback Richard Brehaut led the Bruins on a nine-play, 65-yard touchdown drive although the extra point was blocked. The Beavers had one more drive and were stopped on fourth-and-8 at the UCLA 22 yard-line with just over two minutes left.

The Bruins can pat themselves on the back that they are now 1-0 in the Pac-12. But that’s about it. Their defense is still awful, and they need to figure out their identity on offense because in the second half against Oregon State they were utterly predictable. And things don’t get easy now with a trip to The Farm at Stanford next week.

So the fires have cooled down a smidge for the program, but nothing has been resolved quite yet.

San Diego Padres defeat LA Dodgers 3-0. Going 1-for-4, Matt Kemp’s batting average dropped to .325 which is .005 behind National League leader Ryan Braun. Kemp is still tied with Albert Pujols with 37 homers, and Kemp still leads the league with 119 RBI. Dee Gordon and Jerry Sands each had hits to extend their hitting streaks to 11 and 12 games respectively.

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LA Angels defeat Oakland Athletics 4-2. You know what’s cute? Angel fans thinking they still have a shot in the wild card hunt.

LA Galaxy defeat Columbus Crew 1-0.

Chivas USA defeat Toronto FC 3-0.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

LA Dodgers at San Diego Padres. 1:05 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

Oakland Athletics at LA Angels. 12:35 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.

NFL Schedule

10:00 a.m.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles. Fox, AM 570 KLAC.

1:00 p.m.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears. Fox.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers. CBS, AM 570 KLAC.
New York Jets at Oakland Raiders. AM 710 KSPN.

5:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts. NBC, AM 570 KLAC.