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Helton: Punt and punt return game need to step up

Helton: Punt and punt return game need to step up

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While the USC special teams were worth highlighting in a 43-21 victory over UNLV, there were also moments that led to a near disaster agains the Mountain West opponent. Most notably was a fake punt that gashed the Trojans for a 36 yard gain.

On a 4th and 1 at their own 34, and trailing by two points, the Rebels went for a conversion and ended up deep in USC territory. That drive ended in a UNLV touchdown, giving the Rebels a 14-9 lead in the second quarter.

If USC had gotten the ball back on that fourth and one, maybe they could have put this feisty Mountain West opponent away much earlier.

Reid Budrovich also had an awful game punting the football, averaging just 28.8 yards per attempt.

Clay Helton says there needs to be improvement in USC’s punts and punt coverage.

“I thought the punt and the punt return game needed to step up more to be able to provide field position and not get a fake on them,” Helton said at the USC-UNLV postgame press conference.

USC is facing a punt returner in Connor Wedinton on Saturday who was reportedly running a 4.49 forty yard dash in high school. The Trojans also can’t afford another allowed fake, especially if the Stanford contest is as close as it usually has been in recent years.

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