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USC 38, Idaho 10

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A lot of the post-game analysis of USC's victory over Idaho on Saturday uses terms like "lackluster," "stalled," "uninspired," "sputtering" among others. The general consensus seems to be that since we did not run up the 45 point margin that odds makers had predicted that the Trojan effort was somehow lacking.

Well, anyone who picked up a paper on Sunday knows that USC defeated Idaho by a score of 38 to 10. The Vandals were held to a single field goal in the first half, scored in the final seconds before halftime, and a touchdown with 2:42 remaining in the game, as they faced USC's second team.

Sure, after rattling off 21 unanswered points to start the game, the Trojans slowed in the second quarter. Idaho out gained the Trojans in both yardage (122-80) and first downs (8-4) during the second period, but still only managed to squeeze 3 points out of that advantage.

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AP photo

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USC came out of the locker room a little more fired up and scored another 17 points in the third quarter, before turning the game over to their second team players. Only then did Idaho manage to score a touchdown and that was after an interception of Michael McDonald, who is probably third at best on the Trojans' QB depth chart and probably got to replace starter John David Booty only because back-up quarter back Mark Sanchez is injured.

No offense to McDonald. He actually had a perfect record going into the game: Two passes for two touchdowns.

My point is this: USC is a fine team. Some say the best in the country. We won't know that until the end of the season. This game was a tune up. We had some starters out. We had some true freshman starting. We had some new starters who hadn't had a lot of playing time before. All that and damn it, we were only able to beat Idaho by 28 points.

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Ask Lloyd Carr or Charlie Weiss if they'd like to have had an extra 28 points to use on Saturday.

Beyond all the harping, most are also in agreement that the Idaho game was a coming out for several players. Stafon Johnson and C.J. Gable, welcome to big time Trojan football. We'd heard you were good, but sometimes you have to work for a season before you get a chance to shine. No one's calling your performances lackluster.

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Defenses win championships and boy do we have one this year. The entire unit looks great, but next time you're watching the Trojans on defense, focus on Rey Maualuga for a few plays. Man, is he fun to watch. If you can't pick out his number (58), just look for the hair. Everyone in the Coliseum was excited to see him score a touchdown on an interception, even if the Vandals' quarterback Nate Enderle was later called down before the throw.

The Trojans now have two weeks off before the season begins in earnest. Traveling to play at Nebraska will be no easy matter, but with win number one under the belt and some time for a few players to heal up, the Trojans will be ready for the Huskers.

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Fight On!

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Mario Danelo Tribute

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Sports, while often very emotional, rarely have moments of true heart. Saturday's game had a couple. Before the game started, the family of Mario Danelo, USC's kicker who died in a fall in January, was presented with a framed number 19 jersey by head coach Pete Carroll and athletic director Mike Garrett.

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Possibly even more touching was the tribute during the game. After USC's first touchdown, the point after team lined up, but without a kicker. The Trojans took a delay of game penalty before David Buehler came out to drill the extra point. This "missing man" line up was missed by many in the stadium, but still remained touching watching it later on TV.

Above photos by AP/Kevork Djansezian

The Missing Man Tribute to Mario Danelo

C.J. Gable Catches, Spins, Powers into the End Zone

Vidal Hazelton's One-Handed Grab

Game Day Fan Photos

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Tailgating outside the Museum of Natural History

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Fans pick their favorite Pacific Islander linebacker

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Favorite shirt of the day

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Favorite off-color shirt of the day

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Looking up towards my seats

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Looking north towards downtown from my seats.

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I'd call this "The View from the Cheap Seats" but they ain't all that cheap

Game Day Fan Photos by Robert Takata