By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com

After an emotional ceremony remembering the first responders, survivors, and victims of September 11, 2001, tragic terrorist attacks on this country as the University of Southern California Trojans kicked off the Stanford Cardinals. It was a comfortable 73 degrees at the time of kickoff as the Trojans dawned their traditional USC Cardinal and USC Gold as the Stanford Cardinals sported their road-white uniforms.

On the initial kickoff of the game, the Trojans were penalized for targeting by their outside linebacker. As a result, he would get ejected from the game for a head-to-head hit on the ball carrier. Even with good field position, the Cardinals could not get a much-needed first down. They were forced to punt the ball. The Trojans did not get a first down on their initial drive either, yet pinned the Cardinals deep inside their 20-yard line on their punt.

This appeared to be exactly what the Cardinals wanted to be, as they drew first blood in this game by ripping off a 87-yard TD run by Nathaniel Peat. This would be the 5th longest run in Cardinal’s history. Both teams would once again exchange punts on the next couple of possession. Though the Cardinals Head Coach David Shaw was being extra conservative by punting for a second time on the Trojans side of the field.

The Trojans then drove the ball down the field behind a couple big plays catches by Junior Receiver Drake London, who caught a pass on the boundary to get them to 3rd and 1. Then London caught a 25-yard pass and ran for another 27 yards to move the Trojans deep inside Cardinal’s territory. They would capitalize on their 15 plays 95 yards drive on a 2-yard td run by Keaontay Ingram, who needed some extra assistance by his lineman to get him over the goal line.

The Cardinals responded by driving the ball down the Trojans throat for a go-ahead field goal. However, the Trojans were flagged for an offsides penalty which caused Stanford head coach to rethink the field goal and go for the touchdown. Cardinals Tanner Mckee would throw a 3-yard TD pass, to complete their 9 play 73 yard scoring drive.

After forcing the Trojans to kick field goal on their next drive, the Cardinals then closed out the first half with another TD pass from Tanner McKee. This would give the Cardinals an 11-point lead as they went into the locker room.

On the first drive of the third quarter, the Trojans kicked a 33-yard field goal to complete a 12 play 59-yard drive, which would narrow the Cardinals’ leads to 8 points. However, this would not be their night, as the Cardinals responded with 21 unanswered points. The Cardinals, Kyu Blu Kelly returned an interception for a touchdown; then Tanner McKee scored a touchdown on a one-yard run, which Isaiah Sanders then followed up with a 2-yard touchdown run that put this game out of reach for the Cardinals.

Although the Trojans would respond with a couple of late touchdowns late in the 4th quarter to narrow the lead to 14 points, this was a far cry from their expectations on the season. They were the ranked team entering the game and were the team favored by 14.5 points. In reality, this was yet another lackluster performance by this Clay Helton-coached team and a loss that has cost him his job, as he was let go by the University on Monday after his unimpressive 46-24 record. Helton’s coaching has cost the university to be consistently overlooked by young recruits and the national football pollsters.

Kindly share your thoughts on if Donte Williams long-term, after being named interim head coach, or who they should be looking for someone else to be their permanent head coach. You can reach out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or shoot me an email at info@whatsgoodinsports.com. I encourage you to forward any suggestions on what topics or angles about this edition of the University of Southern California Trojans you would like to see discussed this season.

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