USC Football Reaches New Level of Despair

USC QB Jaxson Dart looks his age in first career start

Dart showed room for improvement, but he directed USC to 484 yards of total offense

Adam Grosbard (OC Register)  —  LOS ANGELES — As Jaxson Dart sat down at the podium, the streak of black down his right eye smeared, sweaty hair hanging in his face, there was no trace of satisfaction on his face for having made his first career start. Just the bitterness of USC’s 62-33 defeat to UCLA hardening his features.

There was little to feel good about from the Trojans’ effort, and Dart’s performance was a mixed bag to evaluate, too.

From a statistical standpoint, Dart had a pedestrian game. He completed 57.4% of his passes for 325 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He moved the USC offense for 484 total yards, though, and five scores in five red-zone attempts. The Trojans did settle for field goals twice, a familiar trend for USC this season.

“I feel like I missed a lot. Wasn’t able to do enough to come out with the win,” Dart said. “I felt like I honestly didn’t make too many bad reads. I felt like I could see the field pretty well. Just missed some things here or there.”

Dart was not helped by the numerous drops by his receivers, including three in third-down situations in the first half. And he had little time to operate in the pocket with the pressure UCLA dialed up against the Trojans’ beleaguered offensive line.

But it was clear that Dart wasn’t playing at the same level as he was prior to his meniscus surgery in September. He wasn’t his typical dual-threat self, being sacked three times and accounting for negative-25 rushing yards.

And early in the game, he didn’t look comfortable with down-field throws. His only completion of more than 20 yards in the first half came on a throw behind the line of scrimmage to Keaontay Ingram that the running back took for 32 yards. One of his first attempts was tipped up and intercepted by UCLA after Dart threw into tight coverage.

But it seemed like his comfort level increased as the game went on. In the third quarter, Dart connected with Gary Bryant Jr. for passes of 28, 44 and 37 yards. The pair linked up for another 33-yard completion in the fourth.

“He played great, took shots, that’s who he is,” Bryant said. “I like the way he played and I look forward to seeing him later on.”

With Kedon Slovis’ timeline to return from a lower leg injury still up in the air, Dart reiterated the message of building off this start.

“I’m gonna make the adjustments I need to and fix them so we can come back and come out victorious the next one,” he said.

ocregister.com

TDB  —  USC’s defense was simply brutally bad, maybe the worst in USC football history over the entire season.  The Bruins rolled up 609 yards, the most against USC since Arizona State had 612 in 2013. Through 10 games, USC is allowing 417.8 yards and 32.2 points per game. Both are on pace for the most for a season in Trojan history. DC Todd Orlando did not speak to reporters after the game.

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TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 22, 2021 8:42 am

There are several silver linings that come of the Bruins being the 4th team this year to rout the Trojans at home. Chocolate Chip will be retained for at least another year. And, Jaxson Dart showed his potential to be really really good. I watched Justin Herbert play for the Chargers last night. Herbert is a really good QB. He clearly outplayed Big Ben of the Steelers. He is clearly the best Pac 12 pro QB in the last decade. Interestingly, the other Pac 12 pro QB who played well yesterday was Huntley, the former Utah QB who lead the… Read more »

Rushmore
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Rushmore(@rushmore)
November 22, 2021 8:44 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

He should have stayed in Orlando.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 22, 2021 8:44 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I would take the Huskers. I think the Huskers could have competed for the Pac 12 North or South championships. The only team I could see beating them in the South is Utah. I think they are on a par with Washington State, which stands a fair chance of winning the North.

Chris
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Chris(@chris)
November 22, 2021 6:33 am

good news / bad news The bad news we all know, it’s everything about the current state of USC football. the good news is we have handed Oregon an opportunity to become the premier football program on the west coast and they can’t do much with it. Cristobal and his staff are just solid, no better than that. This is the worst era of USC football ever, LA and west coast kids do not want to come here. Oregon recruited like gang busters because we are down. They did not leverage that into much at all. If Bohn can bring… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 22, 2021 7:36 am
Reply to  Chris

You are correct – the Pac 12 is a grease fire. Its flagship program was unlawfully assaulted by the NCAA (I am still convinced that the SEC was behind that attack) and the rest of the Conference cheered. The Conference was led for almost a decade by an incompetent buffoon, who was great at playing academic politics but lousy at leading the conference. After the NCAA imposed illegal ‘death sentence’ like sanctions on the program, SC’s Administration managed to make those penalties worse by totally mismanaging the program for the next decade. It capped that mismanagement by allowing an incompetent… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 22, 2021 8:33 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I think the Beavs stand a chance. Smith fired his DC and his interim is a huge improvement. They have a solid OL and great RBs. That would be something 9-3 #15 (or thereabouts) Utah plays either unranked 8-4 Oregon State or unranked 7-5 Washington State for the Pac 12 Championship. If the Beavs beat the Ducks and the Cougs beat the Huskies, the Cougs win the Pac 12 North. If the Beavs beat the Ducks and the Huskies beat the Cougs, then the Beavs win the North. The Pac 12 is currently at the level of the Mountain West.… Read more »

Steveg
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Steveg(@steveg)
November 22, 2021 5:40 am

I just cannot come up with anything new to say about USC football. I hope all the players finish up the season healthy, that the discontented transfer out, and that the assistants all find employment ELSEWHERE. I am still among those who would love to see Williams stay to learn and grow under an excellent HC and DC.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 22, 2021 7:17 am
Reply to  Steveg

Steveg, I just do not see how he can stay. He got his dream job and took it. He took it because he believed he could do it (just as Clay believed he could do it). He had no idea that he would be a horrible (I mean a really awful) HC. Neither did Bohn. My guess is Folt pushed for his becoming the interim so early to give him a chance to audition for the part. His colossal failure as HC is such that he simply cannot stay. He will now be tied to coaching the worst team in… Read more »

Steveg
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Steveg(@steveg)
November 23, 2021 4:46 am
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

I see it a little differently. In time this football team will always have the name of Helton hanging over it, so much so that Williams will just be almost forgotten. His recruiting is by far better than most anyone else. How would a guy like him grow under lets say a HC like Aranda. His players seemed to do well at Oregon where he was under a different HC. So is it him or the left over Helton malaise.

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan(@san-diego-trojan)
November 21, 2021 11:00 pm

People seem to think Prime Time Deon Sanders is going to move up to a power 5 job after 2 years as a head coach. He’s got the personality to recruit. I’ve heard TCU is a possibility because he lives in the Dallas suburbs. Do our Texas bloggers think that’s gonna happen?

Steveg
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Steveg(@steveg)
November 22, 2021 5:36 am

If Deion was a student of the game and had spent time paying attention to what coaches said and did with other positions besides just his own, he could be rounded out enough to be a good HC. Put him in a top tier program and he will surely recruit well. Can he be a leader for these young guys? I think so, he is showing it now. I hope he gets the TCU job, he will drive the other Texas schools head coaches crazy.

TrojanMPA90
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TrojanMPA90(@trojanmpa90)
November 21, 2021 10:51 pm

We have sunk to our lowest level now. The new coach has to do a complete rebuild as well as change the culture. This is going to take at least 2-3 years. Good coach will need to rebuild the offense and defense lines

Last edited 9 days ago by TrojanMPA90
Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 21, 2021 6:28 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen that was a helluva hurdle into the end zone. And signing the hat. Crazy. The little gutties had their day yesterday. We knew it was coming back in September. When SC is once again dominating they will have yesterday to cling too while we move on to celebrate conference and national championships.

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan(@san-diego-trojan)
November 21, 2021 11:05 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I know we’ve already mentioned this and Shaw’s seemingly invincible status, but anywhere else, and he would be packing his bags. He’s lucky he isn’t coaching in the SEC

alfa1
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alfa1(@alfa1)
November 22, 2021 5:03 am

You seem to wonder why…he’s still there.
Shaw is a Stanford alum, he’s a minority and well received in Stanford circles. His connections go all the way up the pipe to Condi Rice
Shaw is a member of the Elite Club. He will be the coach until he becomes bored with it.
Ever notice that sly smirky smile, like he knows something you don’t … it’s because he does.

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan(@san-diego-trojan)
November 22, 2021 3:25 pm
Reply to  alfa1

No matter how well connected he is, Stanford, like USC is private, and it’s hard to believe that the Alumni and major donors don’t care about football enough to look the other way forever. This is not the first disappointing year, and if it wasn’t for sinking of the SC Titanic, they would be the story in the conference

alfa1
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alfa1(@alfa1)
November 22, 2021 7:28 pm

Your myopia is focused on football….Yes it’s private…very private, it’s a different world than USC
Stop trying to equate everything to a football.

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan(@san-diego-trojan)
November 22, 2021 8:33 pm
Reply to  alfa1

Very condescending of you Alfa. It’s not myopia, it’s an opinion, which is what we do here. I don’t have inside perspective or info. I don’t equate everything to football. It’s just an observation on what I think would be common sense about their football program. How about you don’t take it so personal. It’s not about you

Last edited 8 days ago by San Diego Trojan
alfa1
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alfa1(@alfa1)
November 23, 2021 4:45 am

San Diego….if so I apologize. so much is discussed here and elsewhere regarding our team and the ongoing search, most of which is a combination of if’s and rumors. I am simply wearying from all the nonsense with no substance only hyperbole! Your comment went beyond pale as to on which the Power brokers, Administration and Alumni of Stanford focus. Such metaphors as ‘Titanic’ are emblematic of the current state of USC football…Not Stanford! You don’t hear of the Stanford fans, the few that are interested, running around with their hair on fire like those at SC or some SEC… Read more »

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan(@san-diego-trojan)
November 23, 2021 9:47 am
Reply to  alfa1

Alfa, you apologize and then continue to be condescending.I don’t pretend to be profound or insightful. Everyone here is commenting or adding opinions on everything about anything, including you. No one has to agree, I expect that. It’s all hyperbole and may lack substance, except for the few that really have inside contacts and information. I don’t negatively pick apart the semantics of everyone’s comments like you do, because I respect the opportunity of everyone to vent and contribute to what should be a lighthearted daily escape. It’s not rocket science, and if you are weary of the very thing… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by San Diego Trojan
Rock2112
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Rock2112(@rock2112)
November 23, 2021 10:21 am
Reply to  alfa1

Stanford’s not USC, but we’re getting closer every day.

alfa1
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alfa1(@alfa1)
November 23, 2021 11:03 am
Reply to  Rock2112

Incrementally, Yes.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 21, 2021 5:47 pm

FL just fired its coach. So, four major jobs are now open: LSU, FL, USC & WA. You have to give it to LSU, WA and FL. They moved quickly once the problems surfaced. SC waited at least 2 years (probably 3). Some coaches are about to become very wealthy.

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 21, 2021 6:24 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

The Michigan State deal pushed the bar. I see $9.5 million for a top 10 coach the norm. Nick Saban will get a bump to $10 million base salary.

Steveg
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Steveg(@steveg)
November 21, 2021 5:33 pm

As I get older I look at life from one season to the next. It just seems to me the Cat and the USC football program have stolen several seasons from me lately, and this one was a total waste of time. At 72 I am not sure how many seasons I have left and it sure does piss me off to see USC wasting what I do have. Get with it, hire the coach, gets this sh!t show on the road and do something USC, we don’t have forever here.

RialtoTrojan
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RialtoTrojan(@rialtotrojan)
November 21, 2021 5:24 pm

Accountability is still an issue even after all the talk of holding the team accountable. Way back when I played high school ball, every time a receiver dropped a catchable pass in practice he had to take a lap. A missed tackle cost a lap. But after a while those drops and misses became fewer and farther apart. It doesn’t take a genius to know that football is not a game for PBIS kids. (Positive behavior intervention strategies). Hugs and cheek kisses do not cut it. From what I’ve heard and read (haven’t watched the video yet) most of the… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 21, 2021 5:36 pm
Reply to  RialtoTrojan

Rialto, A bit late for fixing this mess. At this juncture, it is what it is. What I do not know is if the kids will decide to show up or will just simply quit. If I had any injury and had a potential for playing for another quality program or going to the NFL, I would not play for this dumpster fire. I would stay injured. Drake Jackson should have learned from watching Drake London. Why get injured now. Too much money at stake. I doubt we see much of him the rest of the year.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 21, 2021 4:04 pm

Ryan just wrote an article that this is the worst SC team in the last 50 years. A post last week on the same board asked if this was the worst SC team they had seen. It was unanimously voted the worst. I think most of us have the same opinion.

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 21, 2021 5:13 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Well there is no where to go but up. The really encouraging thing for me is how bad the entire conference is. Look at the ranked teams 5-10. They would wipe the Pac12 out. A great coach would clean up year after year just like McKay, Robinson and Carroll.

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 21, 2021 3:12 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Boy I thought Plaschke would have a big picture view. USC did not settle the sex abuse case till March. You telling me if USC makes headlines in December by buying out the current staff and hires a new staff for $30-40 million or more, that doesn’t make it harder to settle that lawsuit? You lawyers here would the optics look bad?

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 21, 2021 4:52 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Fair enough I will accept your legal opinion. I just can’t help but feel like Folt and Bohn took over a dumpster fire of a university and Athletic Department and it took 2 years to sort it all out. Anyway I’m done with the woulda,shoulda, coulda of the past 2 years. Just can’t wait to see what’s in that big package under the Trojan Football Christmas Tree.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 21, 2021 3:54 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

The Cat had just won the PAC 12 South and had an undefeated season last year. Bohn could not fire him. He did so as quickly as he could. The problem was he needed to be fired as soon as Bohn arrived. Bohn instead replaced the staff. Unfortunately, the DC is awful and Donte is even worse as a HC than Clay. The problem was not entirely Clay; it was also the staff. Look at WSU; they did not fall apart under an interim. In fact, they are playing as well if not better.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 21, 2021 5:31 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I do not think Bohn had the Adminstrative support to replace Clay. I would like to think Bohn knew before he took the job that Clay was incompetent and he would have to replace. I do not think Bohn knew just how bad Clay was, but he certainly knew he had to replace him. Folt was adamant publicly in her support of Clay when Bohn arrived. So, my point was, not that Clay needed to be replaced, but that Bohn had to get Administrative support to incur the significant pay out. He clearly got after last season in the form… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ(@trojanrjj)
November 21, 2021 5:42 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Why it happened is irrelevant. It happened. They are now in the process of fixing it. What this season has done is show in graphic detail what happens when your turn your most public program over to incompetents for six years. Arledge said that if you turn your yacht over to eight year olds and show up a year later, should you be surprised it is a wreck? I do not think Folt believed the ramifications that would follow from her decisions. She does now. I cannot believe she ever wanted this level of public scorn for SC. And, if… Read more »

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan(@san-diego-trojan)
November 22, 2021 4:25 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

I agree. Covid season saved Clay for another year. If it had been the original, full season, he would have been destroyed by Alabama, Notre Dame, and a few more North division teams. Not to mention three come from behind wins that could have easily made it a 2-3 short season instead of winning the abreviated South, and would have put him and us out of our misery earlier.I also think the high recruiting class rebound gave the administration the false sense that things were gonna turn around. The only silver lining I can see is that maybe the pool… Read more »

volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan(@volunteertrojan)
November 23, 2021 9:00 am

Not nitpicking SDT, but I believe the phrase regarding The Cat should simply be “put him out of our misery”. Happy Thanksgiving!

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 21, 2021 1:02 pm

If SC had a decent defense, 33 points should be enough for a win. I can’t blame this historic beat down on the offense. This defense is nonexistent and special teams is poor as well.

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan(@golden-trojan)
November 21, 2021 3:13 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

But they still put up 33 points.

UtahTrojan
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UtahTrojan(@utahtrojan)
November 21, 2021 1:51 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

But I thought we had the best special teams coach.

ATL D.D.S.
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ATL D.D.S.(@atl-d-d-s)
November 22, 2021 8:51 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

USC Football is the proverbial “blank slate” right now. Or, it’s like a piece of property that is outstanding, but has a run down shack on it. Perfect place for a beautiful re-development.