USC sophomore linebacker Hayes Pullard (Crenshaw HS) intercepted a pass and ran it back 27 yards for his first career touchdown. Photo by Jeff Lewis
Joe McKnight, who played at USC from 2007 to 2009, was investigated during his final season at the school for taking extra benefits. The NCAA did not penalize USC at the time, but the case has resurfaced. Photo by Jason Lewis
After routing Hawaii in Los Angeles, USC will hit Broadway
Los Angeles sports fans have enjoyed USC football for over 120 years. Now it is time for USC to take their show on the road, right to the Big Apple.
Make no mistakes about it, what USC showcased last Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum was not just a football team, that was a spectacle. That was a performance worthy of an Academy Award. The was a display of some of the best athletes that college football has to offer.
There is no need to keep this show local, so USC will be heading a little west of famed Broadway in New York, as they will play against Syracuse at Metlife Stadium, which is the home of the New York Giants and the New York Jets.
There has always been an east coast bias when it comes to college sports, and to many people on the other side of the Mississippi, western football teams are out of sight, out of mind. Well USC is taking their brand of football right to them, and Syracuse has about as much chance of knocking off the top team in the nation (now No. 2 in the AP poll) as Hawaii did.
Hawaii’s biggest mistake may have been electing to kickoff the ball at the start of the game after they won the coin toss. Their punishment was watching Marqise Lee (Serra HS) take the first play from scrimmage 75 yards for a touchdown.
Later in the game Lee returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, and he finished the game with 10 receptions for 197 yards.
The two scoring plays have the nation buzzing, and if Lee keeps it up, he could find himself in the Heisman Trophy race. Quarterback Matt Barkley is the front-runner, and a good amount of Lee’s plays will be attributed to Barkley. But Lee’s two touchdowns were all him. The catch from Barkley only went for five yards, and Lee broke a tackle, taking it the other 70 yards. The kickoff return for a touchdown was obviously without the help of Barkley. The more plays that Lee has without the help of Barkley, the better his chances will be in the Heisman race.
The only issue that USC seemed to have against Hawaii was running the football. They passed for 394 yards, but rushed for only 81, with an average of only 3.5 yards per carry. That is not a big deal against a team like Hawaii, and that should not stop USC from routing Syracuse. But over the course of the season, there will be games where they will need a balanced attack.
At this point USC is probably not worried about their running game, just like they do not seem to be worried about new allegations against former running back Joe McKnight. The Los Angeles Times first reported that McKnight received cash and perks worth thousands of dollars while he was at USC from 2007 to 2009.
This is not new news, because USC investigated McKnight and his relationship with Scott Schenter, who allegedly gave McKnight money while he was playing at USC, and gave him a Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
USC turned over their findings to the NCAA while McKnight was still on the football team, but the NCAA did not penalize the team at that time, which may be a reason why head coach Lane Kiffin is not too worried about this case resurfacing.