USC rode in to Tempe, Ariz., feeling confident after a methodical victory over Syracuse. The Trojans aimed to establish themselves as a force in the Pac-12 South against Arizona State, who many pundits picked to win the division.
“This team is going to stay together,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “They’re going to be strong. We’ve got to get ready for next week. We’re 3-1. The season’s not over. A lot of teams would like to be 3-1. We’ll go back and get ready to play a good Arizona team.”
Positives: USC outgained Arizona State and dominated the time of possession. Despite being down at the half, the Trojans came out fired up and turned in several quality possessions to begin the second half. The turnaround netted them a lead in the third quarter before things went downhill.
Negatives: The Trojans squandered several opportunities to score. In three red zone possessions in the second half, USC only managed six points. Four turnovers and 10 penalties halted several drives and hindered USC from establishing a rhythm. To add fuel to the fire, the Trojans were just 1-of-9 on third-down conversions. Junior tailback Cameron Marshall ran wild and quarterback Brock Osweiler seemed to have a receiver open every time he wanted to throw the ball. Yet again, USC was outscored in the second half and fourth quarter.