The White Stuff
We've been crying for LenDale White to get more involved in the USC offense, and today he didn't disappoint us. The power running back rushed for 197 yards in Troajns close 38-28 victory over Arizona State. Why was the game so close? Why did the Trojans play such an awful first half? Are they not as good as we think they are? The fact of the matter is that the USC offense played a horrific first half. The defense was fine, and only wore down a little late in the second quarter because it had been on the field in the heat for so long. But the offense committed nine first half penalties alone which were embarrassing. Penalties were problematic in Trojan wins over Hawaii and Oregon, but only today did it almost cost USC a chance to win.
Penalties are the main reason why the game was close, and why the Trojans played an awful first half. Its drives stalled, and they took themselves completely out of rhythm. Perhaps the Trojans offense knows its ridiculously talented, and has heard all of the accolades from the media. Perhaps they've let success get to their heads, and it's made them become undisciplined. Whatever it is, Pete Carroll, Steve Sarkisian, and Lane Kiffin need to get their players' asses in gear, and make sure such a pathetic display never happens again. Arizona State is a good football team, and they nearly won the game. The Trojans might not be as fortunate next time if they commit so many penalties against another good team.
Our only other disappointment on offense was Matt Leinart's accuracy. He was erratic, especially in the first half. It seemed like that hit which took Leinart out of a few plays ruffled him, and he struggled initially after that. Leinart has never been as accurate as someone like Carson Palmer. In fact, John David Booty might be more accurate. But Leinart does know how to manage the amazing offensive tools he's been given, and gets the most out of his unit. In the second half he settled down, and the temperature got cooler. The Trojan run game also pushed past a tired, but valiant, Sun Devil defense. While we know what Reggie Bush can do, it was LenDale White who reminded the nation that he is one of the most talented backs around.
Next week, USC faces Arizona at the Coliseum. It will be nice to get a home game after traveling to harsh corwds in Eugene and Tempe. The Trojans should beat the Wildcats in a walkover. But they better stay disciplined.