Keaontay Ingram Claims Trojan Running Game Will Be “Special”

No. 15 USC hopes to get off to running start vs. Spartans

Dan Greenspan (Yahoo Sports)  —  LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kedon Slovis and Drake London are back leading Southern California as one of the top quarterback-receiver combinations in college football.

As good as they are, the No. 15 Trojans will need help from others if their offense is going to play at a level capable of winning the Pac-12 or reaching the College Football Playoff.

The first test of whether USC has put together a running game capable of complementing its powerful passing attack will come in the season opener Saturday against San Jose State.

“I mean, if you want to win a lot of games, especially later on in the season, got to be able to pass and run the ball,” said running back Keaontay Ingram, a transfer from Texas.

USC (5-1 last season) got to the Pac-12 title game with the worst rushing attack in the conference, ranking last in yards per attempt (3.17) and yards per game (97.33). The lack of balance finally caught up to the Trojans in the 31-24 loss to Oregon, as they averaged just 1.36 ypc on a night when Slovis couldn’t get on track.

In the hopes of addressing those issues, USC hired a new offensive line coach and brought in Ingram and TCU transfer Darwin Barlow to bolster the tailback position during the offseason.

Ingram (28), who rushed for 1,811 yards and 11 touchdowns in three seasons with the Longhorns, immediately recognized the determination from his new teammates to revive that part of the offense.

“Through the spring, through the fall, we’ve been attacking that left and right,” he said. “Attacking the small detail things, so I feel like the running game is gonna be something special this year.”

A strong rush defense helped San Jose State (1-0) win the Mountain West last season, allowing 0.5 ypc in the title game. They will have to be equally tenacious against the Trojans, a game that should carry special meaning for the sizable contingent of Spartans coming back home.

San Jose State coach Brent Brennan played receiver at UCLA from 1993-94, but his time at USC’s crosstown rival has no impact on the chance to deliver what would be a defining upset.

“I had a great experience at UCLA, but that’s a long time ago,” Brennan said. “Oh my God, is it a long time ago. And really, this is about our team and these players and what we’re doing to build a consistent winning football program at San Jose State.”

HIGH PRAISE

Despite throwing for 1,921 yards and 17 touchdowns against seven interceptions in six games in 2020, Slovis said he didn’t play as well as he did as a freshman. He attributed part of that decline to the lack of a conventional offseason that prevented Slovis from completely recovering mentally and physically from an elbow injury suffered in the 2019 Holiday Bowl.

Even with those struggles, Brennan came away impressed after breaking down the quarterback’s tape.

“I think Kedon Slovis is a top-10 pick in the NFL draft,” he said. “He’s fantastic. He can make every throw. He’s incredibly accurate.”

HOME SWEET HOME

USC will play in front of fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first time since Nov. 23, 2019, when a crowd of 64,156 watched a 52-35 win over UCLA. However, they won’t get the usual game day experience. Tailgating on campus will not be allowed because of concerns about the delta variant.

NO HALL PASS

San Jose State defensive end Cade Hall was the only FBS player to get at least 10 sacks last season without playing in 10 games, earning him Mountain West defensive player of the year honors. Consistency defined Hall’s impressive junior season, as he had multiple sacks in four of the seven games in which he played.

ANTICIPATED DEBUT

Korey Foreman, the top defensive recruit in the country, is set to play his first game for the Trojans. Although he was limited in training camp because of elbow and groin injuries, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound edge rusher is expected to be used mostly on obvious passing downs where he can pressure the quarterback.

APPOINTMENT TV

The Spartans got a comfortable 45-14 win over Southern Utah last week as part of a limited slate of five FBS games.

“We watched them actually as a team a little bit just ’cause they were the game on (Saturday night),” Slovis said. “Really good, talented team. A lot of veteran guys, really excelled last year, so excited for the opportunity to play them.”

yahoo.com

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Steveg
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September 2, 2021 8:48 pm

Just wondering what all those Pac12 HD Alternate channels are for? Like when one game gets delayed they could still show the regularly scheduled games? After all these years they should have it figured out, but as I sit here the AZ St game is being played but is preempted by the delayed Utah game. But you can get it on a streaming app instead. Only Larry Scott could dream this up. I am afraid we are not going to be able to see the USC game in its entirety tomorrow if Oregon runs over 3 hours.

Steveg
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September 2, 2021 7:15 pm

Minnesota has a very good offensive line with an outstanding RB to go with it. Go Gophers!

Trojan5
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September 2, 2021 6:24 pm

I think Gus Johnson is WAY overrated. Anybody agree?

Chris
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September 2, 2021 6:31 pm
Reply to  Trojan5

I like him. He’s a total hype man, but that’s OK.

Trojan5
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September 2, 2021 6:46 pm
Reply to  Chris

he acts like he has read his hype and now he is over the top excited far too often. Seems like he is trying to make a highlight show.

Trojan5
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September 2, 2021 6:44 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I like Klatt fine. I think of him as an objective Yogi Roth. Sometime Yogi let’s his inner fan overrule his analyst side of the brain. The guy I like a lot is Brock Huard. Like him on radio too.

Chris
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September 2, 2021 6:23 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I would be too if Bob were our head coach.

UtahTrojan
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September 3, 2021 8:26 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Is he stumping for the USC HC job?

Steveg
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September 2, 2021 4:43 pm

Today we get to experience Larry Scotts parting gift, 3 hour game slots on Pac12 Network. Guess they won’t show commercials. Saturday the same thing, Oregon at 11am and USC at 2pm. Washinton at 5pm and WSU at 8pm. Only team I have seen do a game in 3 hours was Army because they never throw.

Golden Trojan
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September 2, 2021 9:49 pm
Reply to  Steveg

This usually means the start of the next game is on another channel or online, any idea where to see the start of the SC game?

Steveg
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September 3, 2021 12:58 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

When the AZ St game came on it was on Pac12Now. I had to watch it on my laptop.

rleeholder1
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September 4, 2021 3:42 am
Reply to  Steveg

Reminds me of the “Heidi Bowl” NFL game back in the late1960s. When it was only the major networks and I think NBC pulled this gaffe, a seemingly out of hand game was cut short to air the scheduled episode of the TV Show “Heidi”. The game was between the Jets and Raiders I believe. The Jets were comfortably ahead and then, which nobody saw, the Raiders scored two TDs in the last minute to pull out the game. At least there seems to be alternatives these days.

John Weld
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September 2, 2021 5:33 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

The 30 year old Matt Barkley was releaseed by the Titans today after having signed a new contract with them less than 30 days ago. Matt was the Titans leading QB during the preseason completing 62% of his passes.

Chris
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September 2, 2021 3:30 pm

The bruins suck. Always have and always will. Fight on!!

Steveg
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September 2, 2021 4:44 pm
Reply to  Chris

Great post Chris.

Jalenbuck1
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September 2, 2021 1:33 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

While I agree with them, I don’t trust the UCLA passing game, once teams stack the box DR will need to prove he can win with the passing game.

TrojanRJJ
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September 2, 2021 2:28 pm
Reply to  Jalenbuck1

Jalen, Agree totally. Hawaii should have stacked the box against UCLA and force DTR to beat them. DTR (at least the parts of the game I saw) was just awful. If he plays like that against LSU, I think the Bruins are in for a long day because LSU will stack the box and has great DBs. I took the Bruins, but it could be a bad bet. DTR looked that bad last week.

TrojanMPA90
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September 2, 2021 1:41 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Somehow and someway the Bruins will not be a good team because of Chip Kelly.

TrojanRJJ
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September 2, 2021 2:26 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I think they are the best team right now. The issue is what team improves the most. Historically, under Helton, SC teams regress after Week 2. UCLA under Kelly has been consistently bad, or as last year, consistently choking.

Golden Trojan
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September 2, 2021 3:25 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Oh come on Allen, You just wait till November, this USC team will be “Special”! Even Ingram has drank the Helton Special Kool Aid!

Golden Trojan
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September 2, 2021 3:55 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

😂

Golden Trojan
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September 2, 2021 4:05 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Every Helton team is Special, warriors, undefeated in symbolic victories!

Steveg
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September 2, 2021 5:18 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I am going to say it now, not sure if USC will have a run game, but if they do Harrell will run the ball. If they don’t, he will take what he is given and try to make it work, kind of like last season. His air raid is not the same as Leach’s.