Robert Woods (Serra HS) set a school single game record by catching 17 passes this past Saturday. He had 177 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Photo by Jeff Lewis
Curtis McNeal (Venice HS) had a run of 27 yards, but on his other five carries he only had six yards. Photo by Jeff Lewis
Barkley to Woods connection worked against Minnesota, but USC will need to mix it up this Saturday against Utah.
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
If football came down to two players, than USC would be more than happy with their season opening victory over Minnesota.
Wide receiver Robert Woods (Serra HS) broke USC’s single game receptions record by catching 17 passes to go along with 177 yards and three touchdowns.
Quarterback Matt Barkley completed 34 passes, which is also a single game school record. At one point he completed 16 consecutive passes.
But football is about much more than two players on one side of the ball, and Woods and Barkley’s accomplishments resulted in only 19 points, giving USC a two-point victory.
That effort was good enough to defeat Minnesota, but the schedule gets tougher, as USC hosts the first ever PAC 12 game when Utah comes to town this Saturday. If USC gives a similar type effort this Saturday they could be headed for a loss.
The game against Minnesota showed that head coach Lane Kiffin does not trust his running backs or offensive line enough when it comes to the running game. During training camp there were questions about both units, and seeing that they passed the ball 45 times and only ran it 24, Kiffin must not be comfortable with the running game.
Redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan (Taft HS) was given the start and he carried the ball 18 times for 70 yards, and Junior Curtis McNeal (Venice HS) carried the ball six times for 33 yards.
Sophomore Dillon Baxter, who was in the running for the starting position in training camp, did not receive a carry in the game and he stepped on the field for one play, which was a screen pass.
Baxter has said that he does not know why he did not receive much playing time, but there has been talk about him having a poor attitude. Baxter had a rough freshman season, which included two suspensions.
Kiffin met with Baxter and his family to talk about his lack of playing time, which gave the impression that he may be thinking about transferring. But at this point he has not said anything about doing that.
Baxter will have one other player to fight for playing time with, because Kiffin must have seen enough, so suspended running back Marc Tyler has been reinstated and will most likely play this week.
Tyler, who was barred from training camp, practiced last week, mainly with the scout team. With the struggles from Saturday, Tyler’s bruising style of play may be what USC needs to balance out their offense.
They will need to put up some points on the board this coming week, because Utah has Norm Chow as their offensive coordinator, and seeing that he is away from UCLA, his offense should be back on track.
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