The USC Trojans are who we thought they were.
That’s the main takeaway from their season-opening 66-14 blowout of Rice.
We knew this USC offense wouldn’t just be good; it was going to be special, at least as long as the offensive line starters and Caleb Williams stay healthy. We knew this offense, coached by Lincoln Riley, would push the right buttons and get the most out of its talent and resources.
We knew that the defense was, to be charitable, a work in progress. A glaring lack of rush defense marked the first half, and third-down defense was also a problem. The pass rush didn’t get home. This was always going to be a concern. The USC defensive line is, by miles, the most flawed and undermanned unit on the roster.
The linebackers made plays. Shane Lee, Ralen Goforth, and Eric Gentry all made significant contributions. In the secondary, Calen Bullock’s hustle prevented a Rice touchdown and scored a USC touchdown. No deep balls were given up in the first half.
Everyone’s first concern should be the rush defense and the pass rush heading to Stanford in Week 2.